So the leaves are falling, scarves are wrapped tight and the kids are planning their Halloween costumes, but before you dive right into the joys of fall, take a moment and get your vacation home ready for the off-season. We’ve put together a check list for second home owners to ensure your home will hibernate safely during the winter months.
• Alert the post office that you will be gone so that your mail can be forwarded.
• Hire someone to check on the home every few days or every week to make sure there are no incidents.
• Make sure your alarm system is working properly.
• Hire a snow plow service to shovel after snow falls as snowy sidewalks are a giveaway that no one is home to burglars.
• Make sure you have a few exterior and interior lights on timers so it looks like someone is home at night.
Keeping Your Home safe in the Cold:
• Clean out gutters and install leaf blockers over gutters- this will help keep water away from your home.
• Prune any overhanging limbs that could cause damage during a storm.
• Remove screens and put up storm windows.
• Close swimming pool and store lawn furniture as well as the grill.
• Keep your thermostat at a cool 55 F, cool enough to not waste heat but warm enough so that pipes will not freeze and burst (!!)
• Prep your pipes by putting antifreeze down drains and toilets, wrapping pipes and leave water dripping ever so slightly out of a few faucets (make sure the drains are open!) to keep water flowing and prevent frozen pipes.
• Caulk holes around windows and weather strip around frames to make sure that no drafts get through.
One thing to consider before you go through the measures of winterizing is to try and find a long-term renter for the off-months, however long that may be. This way, you can still make some easy money on your second home while someone else can have the pleasure of enjoying it! If this is not a possibility, it’s never too early to start finding guests for the next season, so start advertising and putting the word out there about your vacation home.
But whatever you decide to do, make sure that your home is ready for the chill!