If you’re heading for a warmer clime this winter, you’ll want to make sure when you get home, it’s in the same shape as you left it.
All kinds of things can happen when you leave your home unoccupied in winter—frozen pipes, roof damage and more. That would certainly make for an unpleasant homecoming. But these can be prevented with a few important steps before you take off:
Keeping trim. Cut away trees and limbs from your home and car to prevent gutter debris, and heavy ice or snow accumulation from bringing them down and damaging your property.
Warm ways. Ensure you have enough insulation in your basement and attic. Close up any cracks or holes in outside walls, around doors and windows, and shut fireplace flues to keep the cold air out. Also close crawl space vents. Don’t lower the inside temperature below 55 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing, and keep all interior doors left wide open so heat can get to remote areas of your home.
Stem the flow. Turn off incoming water at the main supply point, and drain all water lines by opening faucets inside and outside your home (look for the spigot at the home’s lowest point). Once the water has been shut off, flush and drain toilets. Turn off ice makers and drain the lines.
Empty and anti-freeze. Turn off gas or electric supply and then drain the water heater. And if you’re on a well and pump system, drain the expansion tank as well. You may also need to completely eliminate the water in drain traps by pouring in RV antifreeze, a nontoxic propylene glycol antifreeze sold for recreaonal vehicles.
Plug up to prevent. Close up sink and tub drains to prevent water in pipe P-traps from evaporating. You need water in there to keep sewer gases from escaping into your home.
Clean and toss. Before you leave, clean out the refrigerator and remove from your home boled water, soda, home canning goods and other items that could freeze.
Damage control. Unplug all electrical items to prevent damage from a surge or spike during a storm.
And finally, if you’ve recently made any big home improvements, consider if you have enough coverage. Check with your Independent Agent well before heading out the door.