When you don’t plan to use your vacation home for an extended period of time, you need to take precautions to prevent theft, deterioration, and unnecessary expenses. We’ve created this step-by-step list of things to help you know what to do.
Step 1: Turn Off the Main Water Supply and Drain Water Lines
Go to your vacation home’s main water supply point and shut it off. This will prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting in the winter. If you don’t turn off the exterior water, you might find a flood and face costly repairs when you return.
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After the main water is shut off, go around your home and drain all of the faucets. Simply turn them on and let the existing water in the pipes empty out. If your vacation home is in a climate that gets extremely cold weather, use an air compressor to blow excess water out of the lines. Be sure to also drain the pool, water heater, ice maker, dishwasher, and toilets. Just make sure to turn off the gas supply before you empty the water heater.
Step 2: Fill Water Reservoirs with Antifreeze
If your vacation home will experience freezing temperatures while you’re away, it’s a good idea to pour antifreeze into your drains. This will help prevent any remaining water in the u-bends from freezing and causing you issues. Be sure to only used a type of antifreeze that’s been approved for appliances. After you’ve poured antifreeze into your toilet bowls, cover them with Saran wrap to prevent sewer gases from escaping into your home.
Step 3: Turn Down the Thermostat
It doesn’t make sense to spend money on heating your vacation home if you’re not going to be there, so turn down the thermostat as low as it can go before freezing. It’s also a good idea to have a licensed professional inspect your furnace to make sure it doesn’t malfunction while you’re away. Then, close all entry points to your home, such as flues and dampers. If you have any doors or windows that are drafty, use caulking to seal the cracks or stuff them with blankets.
Step 4: Clean Out the Kitchen and Pantry
To prevent critters and insects from invading your home, you should remove all food from your kitchen and pantry. Then mop and vacuum the whole house to eliminate crumbs. You also should unplug all of your appliances to prevent unnecessary power usage.
Step 5: Secure Your Home
When possible, don’t leave valuables in your vacation home. Cover any windows that show the nice things you own. If possible, you should have someone nearby check your home every once in a while to make sure everything is still in order. Also, go to USPS.gov to stop your mail. A full mailbox that clearly hasn’t been touched in weeks practically invites intruders to investigate your home and see what they can steal.
If you follow these steps when winterizing your vacation home, you won’t have to worry much while you’re away. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete all of the tasks before you leave. Plan on at least three hours of work.