But there are some problems with cold weather homes that need to be attended to before going on vacation for the winter. Included are some tips for the major things to check before leaving.
Make The House SecureOne thing that is very important with any vacant home is making sure that the home is secure. Vacant homes are easy thief bait. Get ahead of the game and install a security system in your home which can be programmed to alarm when thieves try to break in. Many new security systems have monitors which allow you to view your home long distance by computer.
Whether or not you choose to install a security system, you should notify a trusted friend or neighbor that you will be away. In many localities you can also notify the police, who will keep an eye on your home during the winter months. Don't forget to leave a forwarding address and phone number, in case a contact is needed. Having someone stop by intermittently to check on the house is a good idea.
Plan Ahead For Winter WeatherCold weather homes take a battering in the winter, as all homes do, so prior planning is needed. Plan for harsh winds by removing anything from the outside that could blow away. Plan for snow and cold by making sure windows and doors are properly insulated with weather seal products. Check to make sure your heating system is working properly, and put in a fresh filter. Have a roofer come to your home and do a visual check of the roof for any vulnerable areas that could develop into leaks.
Turn Down Or Shut Off UtilitiesHeat should remain on at a temperature that will keep all live systems operating properly, somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees. Shut off unnecessary lights and electricity, but retain some lighting with an electrical timer for security purposes. It is very important to shut off the water at the main shutoff valve during the winter months, since below zero temperatures can cause pipes to freeze. A Plugged Piper Drain Service recommends purchasing RV antifreeze to pour into toilets, which will keep the water in the bowl from freezing.
Make sure your plumbing system is in top condition before you leave. Have a plumber or drain cleaning company visit for an annual inspection to check for possible leaks and make repairs as necessary. A plumber can also set your boiler on a vacation setting, which will slow down the action of the boiler in the winter months when it is not being actively used. Just remember to have him come again when you get back from vacation to change the setting.
Vacationing over the winter is only enjoyable if it is worry-free. Remove worries by making sure to prepare your cold weather home for the winter before you leave.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She writes for many online publications and blogs about home improvements, family, and health. She is an avid hiker, biker and runner. Contact her via twitter @BrookeChaplan.