- Kim Cotton
Leaving on a jet plane or going by car or train?
Preparing your home is one of the most important things you can do before leaving for an extended period of time.
Whether you have a vacation home that you spend your summer months in, you travel for work, or you simply have a second property that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, it’s vital to take the steps to preparing the home for the elements while you are gone.
In this article, we’ll talk about winterizing, preparing a home for heavy rains, and protecting it from a number of external forces. That way you can rest assured that your property will be safe while you’re away, saving you money in costly repairs.
Many Americans spend the winter months in a warmer climate. Similarly, it has become quite common to purchase vacation homes and cabins in the northern part of the country to visit during the summer months. Regardless, these homes will have to be winterized to avoid damage.
First, and most important, be sure to turn off the water at the main supply sources. Next, open up your faucets and drain all of the lines that carry water throughout your home and yard. Drain, and put away your garden hose, to protect it and your fittings from damage.
Now that you’re protected against water damage, you’ll want to protect against potential fires. Turn off and unplug all appliances. Not only is this a way to avoid fire, but it will also help you avoid needlessly spending on electricity.
It’s a good idea to turn your thermostat down so that your home is kept above freezing, but not at a needlessly high temperature.
Preparing a home for extended leave
Even if your home isn’t facing the winter cold, there are still measures that should be taken during an extended leave.
Shutting off your main water source should happen, even if a freeze is not expected. This will protect your home from water damage, should a pipe leak or burst.
Cleaning your refrigerator out completely and then washing the interior will help avoid odors from spreading throughout the house.
Other odors can arise from the drains in your home, especially if it’s likely to get hot. To prevent this you can cover up your drains with painter’s tape.
You’ll also want to remove any food from your cabinets that could attract mice, ants, or other pests. While you’re cleaning, wash and put away any linens that you won’t be using for some time.
Be sure arrangements have been made at the post office for any mail you receive at your home. You could set up mail forwarding, have neighbors take in your mail, or purchase a PO box for the time you’re away. Regardless, it’s a good idea to not have mail piling up outside an empty home as it could attract the attention of those seeking to benefit from your house being vacant.
Before leaving, make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. Remove any spare keys from obvious locations around your home, and make arrangements for someone, such as a neighbor, to check on the home and report any problems to you.