Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Protect Your Home This Winter Travel Season
Keep Old Man Winter at Bay When You're Away!
Though winter is not usually an in-demand travel season, many of us do head out of town during the coldest months of the year. From snow birds and holiday travelers to skiers and warm weather enthusiasts, there are plenty of people looking for ways to relieve those deep winter blues by getting out of Dodge!
If you will be spending time away from home this winter, be sure to take precautions to ensure your home is ready for your extended absence. The following winterizing tips will help secure your home and prevent costly damage to your plumbing, HVAC system, interior and exterior while you are away.
Choose Temperature Wisely
You may be thinking you will save money on utilities while you are gone, but if you leave your home’s thermostat off or set too low you could come back to a major – and expensive – problem. Frozen pipes will burst, which can ruin your home’s plumbing and flood the house. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t get much snow or ice, it is still a good idea to set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees. You will still save some money on energy costs, but your house will stay warm enough to keep your pipes from freezing.
Any kind of pipes can freeze and burst under the stress of neglect or frigid winter temperatures. No matter how cold it gets at your house, preparing your plumbing is essential.
Frozen pipes aren’t the only wintertime plumbing threat. Any crack or leak in the pipes could let in water that can cause significant damage to your home and personal property. If you are leaving your home for more than three weeks, it is best to have your water shut off completely and to drain the water lines. Insulate exposed pipes with pipe insulation available at most hardware stores.
Weather the Storm
For many of us, winter brings the harshest weather: heavy snows, ice, freezing rain, high winds, and sub-zero temperatures. A sudden winter storm while you are gone can wreak havoc on your house. Plan ahead and remove some of the risk factors from around your home and yard.
Secure outdoor furniture, grills, toys, garden equipment or lawn care supplies. Tie them down or put them in a garage or shed where they won’t be affected by bad weather.
Trim dead branches from trees and shrubs, especially where these limbs come close to your home or car.
Securely close and lock windows and skylights to prevent snow and ice from coming in.
Get the Lived-In Look
A great way to protect your home from would-be intruders is to make it look like you are still there. Set your holiday decorations and lights with timers, which you will find wherever you purchase holiday lighting. You might even want to put things like a few interior lights, the television, a radio or your computer on automatic timers.
Arrange for a neighbor to come over to clear walkways if it snows and to collect your mail. If you can get someone to check on your house every few days you can also dramatically reduce your risk of being victimized by a home invasion, or suffering major damage from frozen pipes.
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