Cold weather is just around the corner, so if you plan on leaving for winter, make sure your home is ready. Taking appropriate steps to winterize your home reduces the risk of returning to find expensive damages. Here are a few tips to get your home winter-ready before you leave for the season.
Unplug Electrical Devices
Electrical devices in your home draw power even when not being used, so before you leave, unplug any unneeded appliances. Leave major appliances, like your refrigerator, plugged in, but unplug the coffee maker, toaster, desktop computer, and televisions. Make sure you’re not using unnecessary power by going room by room and unplugging anything that isn’t needed. This will also protect electronic devices from power surges.
Winterize Your Home Plumbing
If a leak occurs or a pipe bursts while you are away, it can cause a great deal of damage. In most situations, it’s best to completely turn off the water supply before you leave town. If your home is heated by steam, contact a heating professional to determine the best option for protecting your pipes. It is generally recommended that you turn off the main water line and drain the plumbing system by opening all faucets and flushing the toilets. You can hire a licensed plumber to winterize your home’s plumbing system if you have concerns about doing it correctly. If you choose not to drain the water pipes, keep the furnace running to prevent them from freezing.
Clean the Gutters to Winterize Your Home
When it comes time to winterize your home, spend an afternoon cleaning the gutters. If the gutters are full of leaves and debris, ice dams may form. This may cause damage to the roof, the foundation, or the guttering itself. As the snow and ice melt, the water drains into the gutters. If the gutters are clogged, the water backs up and gets under the shingles, leading to roof problems. The standing water may also freeze in the gutters and cause them to crack. If the water cannot flow out the downspout, it will overflow and puddle next to the foundation, which will cause foundation damage over time. Clean the gutters before leaving the house unoccupied for a long period of time.
If you are heading out of town, check out our article about home security.