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Snowbird and Vacation Smarts


Snowbird and Vacation Smarts:

Whether you’re flying south for the winter or just leaving for the week, make sure to prep your home while you’re gone. This will help you avoid damage and be able to come back to your home to find it just the way you left it.

If you’re going on a short trip:

  • Make sure windows and doors are locked securely.
  • Leave an outside light on (a motion-sensored light is ideal).
  • Put food away and clear out all crumbs so rodents and ants don’t take up residence.
  • Unplug small appliances and shut off computers to prevent fire hazards and save on electricity.
  • Put lights on timers.
  • Stop mail service or arrange for a trusted neighbor to pick it up.
If you’re going on a longer trip or closing down a vacation home:
  • Drain water from the plumbing system and turn off water at the main line if you’re closing a home during the winter season. Complete this task to prevent a pipe from springing a leak, even if you don’t expect pipes to freeze.
  • Pour a 50-50 mix of water and antifreeze that is designed for homes into drains if you live in a freeze area. (Check with the sewer company first for a nontoxic alternative.)
  • Leave the furnace on low. In areas with high winter humidity, mold and mildew can grow, so you should leave the furnace on at a low temperature (55 degrees), rather than turning it off entirely.
  • Bring in lounge chairs, umbrellas, grills, toys, garden hoses and other outdoor items.
  • Store outdoor equipment in a locked shed. If your home has a satellite dish, disconnect it and bring it inside.
  • Trim trees away from the house and clean out the rain gutters. Put shutters on windows if necessary.
  • Cover your whole-house attic fan with heavy plastic if the house is idle in winter. Follow manufacturer instructions for outdoor air conditioner care and maintenance.
  • Give a set of keys, along with your contact information, to a trusted local contact or hire a security company to check on your place occasionally.
  • Hire a gardening service or neighbor to remove snow or mow the grass if you will be gone for an extended time.