For those living in the northern United States or Canadian cities such as Vancouver, migrating away from home during winter is quite appealing. As snowbirds travel to warmer cities such as Los Angeles, San Antonio, or Phoenix, it is crucial to properly close up your home for winter. Here are some important steps to take in winterizing your home as a snowbird.
Adjust the thermostat
Because your home will be vacant, there is no need to keep heating at a comfortable temperature. However, you do not want to turn the thermostat off completely. Keep your temperature at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent pipes from freezing and breaking.
As snowbirds, you will need to make sure your gas and other power supplies are off while you’re away. A gas line left running could lead to a gas leak which has many dangerous side effects, including explosion. You will need your electricity to remain on for your thermostat, but anything that is using electricity should be turned off and unplugged. Double check your house for any small items you keep plugged in such as chargers or lamps.
Drain your pipes, and other sources of water, of any leftover water before your migration as a snowbird begins. Make sure that any water valves are completely shut off. A leaky pipe could cause flooding while you are out of town and leftover water could cause freezing or pressure build up inside pipes.
If you have any friends, family, or neighbors who would be willing to house sit for a while, ask. Most snowbirds stay out of town for months at a time, which is a long time to keep your house unattended. Even if no one can stop in to keep up on the house, ask neighbors to keep an eye out and keep you updated if anything seems out of place.
As snowbirds, you may have a second home that you are visiting, or you may just be renting a space. Either way, you are most likely not going to have the space to bring all of your belongings with you, but surely you can bring some of the items that are of value. Carefully pack up those items and bring them with you as you migrate. This is also a good time to toss out the perishable items you have. Pack up any food you want to take with you on the road and toss everything else to avoid coming home to mold and rotting foods. If you can’t bring your items with you, consider renting out a climate controlled storage unit to keep them safe.
Make sure your fireplace, flue and any windows are locked tight. On a more straightforward note, double check that all doors and entrances to your house are sealed before you leave. Cold air, snow, rain or even animals could get into your home while you’re away enjoying some sunshine. Coming back to the damages that might result from these would be devastating. Remember, it never hurts to double check or triple check. For extra protection, seal off windows with storm windows and shutters. Be sure to set your alarm before you leave.
Are you a snowbird? How do you winterize your home each year? Share with us in the comments below!