Whether you’re going on an extended vacation or leaving to spend the winter in a “winter home,” you must prepare your property if you will be leaving for an extended period of time. This is especially true during the winter, when freezing temperatures and cold weather can contribute to a wide range of maintenance issues.
Turn Off the Water & Drain Water Lines
Any time you will be away from the home for a long time, it’s a good idea to turn off the water. This will prevent potential leaks from getting out of hand, which could lead to extensive water damage or mildew growth. During the winter, turning off the water & draining your water lines also reduces your risk for frozen pipes.
Prevent Frozen Water Pipes
You can further reduce your risk of frozen pipes by insulating outdoor pipes, disconnecting all outdoor hoses and faucets, and opening any cabinets concealing pipes inside your home. You should also keep the heat on so the pipes can stay warm (though you don’t need to keep the thermostat as warm as if you were staying home).
Clean Out the Gutters
Gutters direct rainwater away from your foundation. Major clogs can cause them to overflow, and contribute to winter ice dams that damage your shingles and increase the risk of a roofing leak. Thoroughly clearing out gutters and drain spouts will protect your foundation and roof.
By taking care of these basic tasks before you leave for the winter, you can have confidence that your home will be safe and secure while you are away. The little things can make a big difference!