30 Sep The Checklist for “Snowbirds”
For all you snowbirds out there, it’s about time for you to stretch your wings and fly! We absolutely get it, too. Why not have the best of both worlds if you can? The beautiful peaceful summers of the Northeast and comfortable and warm weather through the winter in Florida provides the best of both worlds. You’ve got the best of both worlds, but leaving your home behind during the cold months creates a few concerns for you as a homeowner.
Let’s take some time to go through the steps that you can take to protect your home while you’re soaking in the sunshine down south!
Don’t make it obvious that you’re away
- Ask someone you trust to do periodic checks on your home to:
- Collect mail
- Check the temperature in the home
- Check the oil
- Look for signs of theft or a break-in
- Look for leaks or mold
- Install motion detector lights outside and put your interior lights on a timer.
- Hire a snow removal service or have someone clean up snow and ice while you’re away.
- Let the snow removal service know that you don’t need to be first on their list because this helps them prioritize other clients’ homes.
- Call the snow removal service as soon as possible, because their clientele lists fill up quickly as winter approaches.
- Don’t post on social media that you’re leaving for an extended period of time. If you want to post while you’re away, just make sure to keep it vague about how long you’ll be away.
- Have your furnace serviced every 6-12 months.
- Schedule these service appointments around when you plan to winterize your home.
- You can make sure that the furnace is running properly, and they can help you determine the safest way to turn off your water.
- Turn off the water supply to prevent your pipes from bursting during a freeze.
- You should consult with your heating professional first to determine if it’s safe to turn off the water supply for your home.
- Don’t turn off the water to any fire sprinkler systems.
- After you’ve turned off the supply, drain all pipes.
- Let faucets drip to alleviate the pressure that could cause pipes to burst.
- If you need to keep the water on to certain pipes, put foam pipe insulation around your pipes to help keep them warm.
- Keep your home warm (if you aren’t draining water supply sources)
- Have your fuel tanks filled before you leave and call to set up auto-fill while you’re away.
- Set the temperature at 55°F or higher.
- Leave a note by your thermostat(s) to let the person who’s checking your home know what the temperature should be set to.
- Keep your basement, rooms, and cabinet doors open to help heat circulate and warm the areas where pipes are located.
We have a few other things to consider before you spread your wings for warmer days. First, don’t forget to perform these same tasks for your other home when you leave in the spring. Of course, your home isn’t likely to experience a deep freeze down south during the summer months, but if you’re coming back in early spring or arriving in late fall there’s still a risk for freezing.
The other thing to consider before you head out is adding a warning system. There are plenty that can alert you to break-ins (and they might save you some money on your homeowner’s policy), but there are also systems that can also alert you to something like a sump pump issue. You’ll have someone over to check on your home periodically, but this would add that extra layer of security and could save you thousands of dollars by alerting you to concerns as soon as they happen.
As always, we’re more than happy to help you out in any way that we can. Whether you need advice on your home’s risks while you’re away, you need to file a claim, you’re looking for a recommendation for a reputable service company, or you want to add an umbrella policy to provide you an extra layer of protection while you’re away from your property, go ahead and give us a call!