The summer months are a great time to enjoy a beach or lakeside vacation home. However, once the seasons shift, you will most likely return home and have little or no chance to maintain that summer house during the cold winter months. In order to keep your summer house taken care of while you’re away, T&G Builders suggests some steps you should consider before moving out for the season.
Prepare for Winter Weather
If your summer home will be potentially affected by storms or strong winds, there are a few small steps to take to reinforce your home. Close and secure any fireplaces or flues. Close the storm windows or close and secure shutters. Bring in your patio furniture and store in a secure place. T&G Builders recommends that all exterior furniture be moved into a garage or indoors so that they don’t blow around or create any additional damage. Finally, of course, remember to close and lock all doors and windows.
Drain Your Pipes and Water Heater
Draining your pipes is necessary to avoid burst pipes, flooding, and water damage. Find your home’s main water valve, turn it off, and then open up all faucets to drain the water out. You can do this yourself, or hire a plumber to be extra secure. If your home has a well and a pump, turn the pump off electrically to halt the flow.
While the water heater is unlikely to freeze, it may still be a good idea to drain it if you’re leaving for several months. Water can sit at the bottom of the tank and lead to sediment and erosion. Before you drain your water heater, you have to turn off the power (sometimes by a switch, sometimes at the electrical panel). This keeps the electrical heating elements from burning up.
Drain the tank by shutting off the valve and opening the spigot at the bottom to flush the water out.
Leaving on your entire HVAC (heating/ventilation/air-conditioning) system is unnecessary, and may even be dangerous. Turn off the AC and switch to heat, but only set the thermostat to about 50 or 55 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the house warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. However, it is recommended to place new air filters in your HVAC system so that they are not clogged while you are away.
Unplug all of your appliances and electronic devices to avoid the possibility of power surges and electrical fires. Disconnect the water and gas lines, and the washer and dryer hoses. It is also essential to remove all food from your refrigerator and clean the surfaces before unplugging it. It is also helpful to leave the refrigerator or appliance door ajar to prevent mildew or mold growth.
Inspect Your Property
Before you leave, walk your property to examine your roof, chimney, siding, foundation, landscaping, and gutters. Address any problems you see now, no matter how small, to avoid letting the damage grow through the winter and demanding more cleanup next year. At T&G Builders, we include a winterization list tailored to our specific customer’s home and include the first year of winterization on all new homes.
Vacant homes are easy targets for theft, so you want to take precautions against that possibility.
First, be sure to take with you any priceless valuables. If you don’t already have one, you could install a security system to deter burglars. For a smaller fee, you could install security motion-sensor lights or install window or door alarms that make noise, without the accompanying monitoring system. The motion-sensors and entrance alarms help in startling and deterring potential thieves.
Clean The House
Waterfront homes can easily retain sand and moisture from the summer, and let them linger in carpet and upholstery until they lead to mold and mildew. Additionally, any food crumbs can lead to rodent infestations if left alone. Any detail unnoticed can lead to a problem next spring, which is why it is important to thoroughly clean your house before you leave it for the winter.
Build Your Dream Home With T&G Builders
T&G Builders, located in Berlin, MD, has been a premier waterfront custom home builder and home improvement contractor serving Worcester and Sussex Counties for over 25 years. We are a locally owned and operated business known for our uncompromising commitment to quality, our passion for using innovative technology and premium materials to complete projects, and our exceptional attention to detail. In addition to building custom homes, we also specialize in remodeling your current house into your dream home! Our skilled team can assess your needs, determine the right design for your addition or improvement, and complete the entire construction process.