Snowbird Tips

As the leaves fall and the temperatures drop, you may find yourself longing for a warmer climate. Before you buy your ticket and pack your bags, make sure your northern home is prepared for the wintry weather ahead.

Make your list and check it twice…

A well-prepared home takes time and effort. This is an area you do not want to skimp on. Making sure your home is properly prepared can save you thousands of dollars in insurance costs.

Outside Tasks

  • Pick up any loose or fragile items around the outside of your home and place them in a secure storage area. This includes yard decor, fountains, patio furniture, anything metal that could rust, and anything lightweight that could be damaged in wind gust.
  • Clear out all your gutters. This is a big one! Clean gutters allow melting snow and ice to flow away from your roof and home, preventing water damage and roof leaks.
  • Check all weatherstripping around your windows and exterior doors. These gaps invite pests and weather in that can damage your home’s interior.

Inside Tasks

Not unlike a big move, relocating for winter involves a lot of interior prep. Follow these steps to ensure a safe home.

  • Shut off the water to your home to prevent busted pipes and flooding during a freeze.
  • Have your HVAC unit serviced so that it is operating at its most efficient level.
  • Turn your heat down NOT off. It may be tempting to turn it off but keeping your heat on just a bit will help keep internal pipes from freezing.
  • Turn off all other utilities.
  • Unplug appliances that pull electricity even when not used. This includes TVs and your microwave!
  • While you’re unplugging the microwave, leave the door open to prevent musty odors from accumulating. The same goes for doors on the dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Open the interior doors and all cupboard doors to promote airflow and limit odors.
  • Make sure the fireplace flue is closed and the vent is covered to prevent weather and unwanted pests from sneaking in.

Use the Buddy System

  • Hire out services you will not be home to complete. Tasks like shoveling snow cover basic maintenance and keep the illusion that someone is home.
  • Let your banking institutions know you will be travelling.
  • Notify your neighbors of your absence and ask them to help watch your property.
  • You can also notify the police of your absence in case of an emergency at your residence.

Get Tech Savvy

Before you go, it may be smart to install a few high-tech gadgets and even some low-tech gear to help you better monitor your home while you are away.

  • Invest in a smart thermostat so you can watch for temp fluctuations from afar.
  • Install moisture sensors that can alert you to leaks or increased moisture levels in your home.
  • Consider a whole home security system that allows you to peek in and view activity in and around your property.
  • Replace traditional light bulbs with timer lights. Set them on alternate schedules to give the impression someone is always home.

Last, But Not Least

Plan ahead, way ahead. If it is feasible to pay your bills ahead of time, do so. Forward your mail, forward your calls (if you still have a landline), notify family and close friends but to keep your home secure, do not post about your departure on social media.

If you follow this guide, your home will be ready and waiting for you, safe and secure, when you return. Have a wonderful winter away and stay safe!

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