Many active adults are preparing to leave their Northern home for the warmer climates for the winter months. Some will leave as soon as the beginning of November and others may wait until after the holiday season. Whenever they are leaving, there are certain preparations that need to be done to prepare your home for a long cold winter.
To leave home for several months is not as simple as packing a suitcase, loading the car, and locking the door. There needs to be a plan or a check list to make sure all the systems in your home are taken care of and prepared to be home alone for the winter. It could take a little bit of time and coordinating to get ready, so a checklist is handy to have.
Here are a 5 items to take care of before you leave home for the winter.
- Call your furnace repair person to have a preventative maintenance inspection. This should include changing the filters and any other repairs that may be found during this inspection. Postponing repairs until you return in the spring may create a system failure that could cause a problem over the winter.
- Inspect the hot water heater for any signs of visible signs of water leakage, rust, and rotting. Adjust the setting of the water heater to vacation mode. If the tank is showing wear and tear or the age of the tank is reaching ‘old age’, you might want to consider replacing it before you leave.
- The refrigerator and the freezer section should be emptied. Turn off water to the ice and water dispenser and drain all water from the line and remove all accumulated ice in the maker. Turn off both sections and unplug, clean with mild cleanser (baking soda), and place a new box of baking soda in the freezer and refrigerator section with the door left open.
- Leave the heat on and set the thermostat at a low temperature. Some experts recommend 55 degrees, and you may want to consult with your heating expert. There are devices and services that can be used to notify someone of a heating problem; such as a special lamp with a red light, placed in the front window for neighbors to monitor, that is programed to turn on if the temperature falls below a designated level or home security systems that will also monitor the temperature in your home and notify you or a designated person of the problem.
- Unplug all small electric appliances; toaster, blender, televisions, etc. Also make sure that mail is forwarded or will be taken in while you are away. Cancel, or better yet, donate your newspaper subscription to a nursing home or assisted living community while you are away. Call the cable company and find out if you can put your services on an inactive status to be reactivated when you return.
Even with the best preventative maintenance and preparations, you should make arrangements for a family member, neighbor, or a paid house sitter to make regular on-site visits to your home. Nothing may go wrong, but if no one physically walks through your home on a regular basis you could have broken pipes and extensive damages. Also make sure that people know how to reach you in case of an emergency; by notifying the police and fire departments.
Claire LeSage is the owner of WITTZ END Relocation Concierge Service.
Claire and her team work with Baby Boomers and seniors helping them
let go of the past to move on to have a more peaceful, comfortable, simpler, and easier life.