Closing A Second Home For The Winter: 8 Fall To-Dos
We’re about a month into fall 2020, and COVID – combined with a mild start to fall – is keeping many of us in our summer homes a bit longer than usual.
But we New Englanders know well what kind of weather is coming once the leaves have fallen (if not sooner): most of us will have to shut down our second home at some point soon. If you’re planning to do that, make sure you take these eight steps to protect your home while you’re away.
Home Winterizing Checklist
- Weatherize – Investing in weatherstripping and storm doors/windows will prevent cold air from entering your home or heat from escaping it, which will reduce your energy bills. Caulk around windows and use foam outlet protectors to prevent cold air from entering your home, and be sure you have enough insulation – especially in the attic.
- Turn down the heat – but don’t turn it off completely – Low temperatures can cause problems ranging from frozen pipes (see below) to condensation (water build up) on your windows – an issue that can cause mold if left untreated. Keep your thermostat set for a minimum of 55°F.
- Consider turning off your water – Frozen pipes and water leaks could cause significant damage to your home; consider completely turning off the water supply if no one will be there for an extended period. Drain your pipes of all water by opening the faucets, and flush your toilet to clear the water from the tank and bowl. If you keep your water on, make sure you keep at least some heat on in the house (see above) to help keep floor and wall cavities above freezing temperatures. Keep room and cabinet doors open to warm areas where uninsulated pipes are located.
- Have a local buddy – Notify trusted neighbors that your property will be vacant, and provide emergency notification numbers to them. Make sure your neighbors have your contact information and a list of local contractors they can reach if repairs or service are needed.
- Give your home the appearance of being occupied – Stop newspaper delivery and ask a friend or relative to collect flyers or other items that may be left at your door. Install motion-sensor or timer-powered exterior lights.
- Have a property maintenance plan – Arrange for snow and limb removal after storms. Have your roof inspected before you leave and clean your gutters to help prevent ice dams from building.
- Safety first – Secure all doors and windows and activate alarm systems. Unplug all unnecessary appliances.
- Take care of heating maintenance before you leave – Have your heating system inspected and serviced, fill fuel tanks, and ask someone to check on heat and fuel levels regularly.
Leave your home with a clear head this winter – trust the pros at Scott Williams with heating maintenance that will keep your equipment running reliably all winter long. Contact us today to learn more about professional heating maintenance in Quincy and Braintree, MA!