Many of our friends on the Eastern Shore are preparing for the end-of-the-season trek South. Before our Snowbirds can make their voyage to their warmer parts, seasonal homes need to be properly prepared for the winter sleep. Continue below for our best home preparation tips.
Ensure you don’t return to a disaster next Summer with these steps for closing your beach home.
End of Season Home Preparation
Inspect Your Property
Walk around the inside and outside of your property to check for damage. Create a checklist based of what you find and decide if it’s something that should be fixed now or when you open your home next spring. Items to inspect include your roof, chimney, eaves troughs, siding, foundation, trees leaning over your property, and out buildings.
Summer Home Inventory
Review your home inventory for your summer home. If you don’t have a summer home inventory, create one. If your summer home was destroyed in a fire or hurricane, you will need to remember each item.
Turn Off Water
Turn off the water at the main supply point to prevent freezing pipes. Open your faucets and drain all water lines, including your appliances. Even if you turn off the water at the main supply into the home, it’s also important to drain the excess water from the water lines that run to your appliances, sinks, and toilets.
Check Your Thermostat
Most insurance policies require a minimum heating of 55 degrees or higher for your home. Keep your thermostat set to at least the required heat level to protect your home from frozen pipes.
Empty And Clean Your Appliances
- Refrigerator/freezer – Remove all food and wipe them down with a disinfectant that kills bacteria. After you’ve cleaned it, consider leaving your refrigerator/freezer doors slightly ajar to prevent mold and mildew growth. This will also prevent smells from getting into the plastic. Consider putting a box of baking soda inside.
- Oven – Like your refrigerator, wipe it down with a disinfectant that kills bacteria and unplug it or turn off the gas.
- Washing machine/dryer – If you’re lucky enough to have these appliances at your summer home, disconnect the hoses and unplug them. If you want to disinfect your washing machine, consider running a normal cycle with vinegar or whatever cleanser your manufacturer recommends.
- Water heater – Drain your water heater and turn off the gas or switch it to vacation mode.
Unplug Your Appliances and Electronics
Protect your appliances and electronics from power surges and lightning strikes.
Secure Outdoor Property
Store outdoor furniture and other items in a locked garage or shed. If there isn’t storage space available on your property, consider renting a storage unit. A nice size storage unit will allow you to store outdoor furniture, bikes, small boats, and other summer toys that could be damaged if left outdoors.
Protect Your Valuables
Take your valuables to your winter home or consider securing them off premises. Vacated summer homes can become easy targets for thieves during the winter months
Partner with Neighbors or Local Police
If you have neighbors or friends who live near your summer home all year round, consider asking them to check on your home periodically. Also leave contact information with your neighbors or local police. Contact information should include your cell phone number, home phone number, and your e-mail address.
Consider a Home Watch Service
A local home watch service will schedule weekly inspections, bring in the mail and typically open your home the following season. Many insurance policies encourage the use of this service to further ensure the safety of the property from water pipe damage, home invasion and other potential disasters.
Consider a Security System
You don’t want strangers to know that you are away. A security system can protect your home if someone attempts to enter your property. An alarm system will alert the local police quickly protecting you from home invasion. Timers control lighting, from porch lights to indoor lamps, giving the appearance of a filled house.
Regardless of how protected your home, leaky or drafty windows can slowly damage your property. Leaks can create slow, steady damage to your walls. A continuous, ongoing leak will likely not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, leading to expensive, out of pocket damages. Drafty windows drive up the cost of heating. Need help checking your windows? Contact your local GoGlass.
After all your preparation, don’t forget to take one last look. Breathe in the fresh, salty air, grab your personal belongings, and we will see you next Spring.