If you're like many Canadians, you're probably getting ready to pack up your home and head south for the winter. But before you go, there are a few things you need to do to make sure your home is winterized and will be safe while you're away. Here are 14 tips on winterizing your home while you're away this winter.
1. Get a home security system
Investing in a home security system is a smart move for protecting your house all winter long while deterring burglars while you're away. There are a variety of different types of home security systems available, so be sure to do your research to find the one that best suits your needs.
2. Stop or forward all mail and newspaper deliveries
This will prevent a buildup of mail and newspapers at your house while you're away, which could serve as an invitation to criminals. You can typically stop mail and newspaper deliveries by contacting your local post office or newspaper office. Alternatively, you could have your mail redirected to you or a trusted relative during your absence. There are also virtual mailbox services that allow you to manage your mail online from anywhere.
3. Arrange for someone to shovel snow
If you live in an area where it snows, it's essential to arrange for someone to shovel snow while you're away. A tidy driveway and walkways will make your home less of a target for potential intruders. You can ask a friend or neighbour to shovel snow for you, or you can hire a professional service.
4. Set timers for lights and electronics
Setting lights and devices on timers can be an effective strategy to prevent intruders and give the impression that someone is home. You can purchase timers at most hardware stores, which allow you to program when lights and electronics should turn on and off. To an outsider, it will look as though someone is at home while, in fact, no one is there.
5. Unplug all electronics
Before you leave for your trip, be sure to unplug all electronics in your home. This includes everything from lamps and TVs to coffee makers and computers. Not only will this help to conserve energy while you're away, but it will also help to protect your electronics from power surges.
6. Lock all doors and windows
Of course, one of the most important things you can do to winterize your home is to lock all doors and windows before you leave. This will keep your home secure while you're away and serve to dissuade intruders. For added security, you may also consider installing deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
7. Bring in any outdoor furniture
If you have any outdoor furniture, such as patio furniture or lawn chairs, be sure to bring it inside before you leave. In addition to protecting them from the elements, it will prevent them from being stolen during your absence.
8. Turn off the water
One of the most important things you need to do to winterize your home is to turn off the water. This includes both the main water supply to your home and any outdoor faucets or hoses. By doing so, you won't have to worry about your pipes freezing and bursting while you're gone for an extended period of time.
9. Drain the water heater
Draining the water heater is another step in getting your home ready for winter to avoid corrosion and save energy. To drain your water heater, simply turn off the power and then open the drain valve at the bottom of the unit.
10. Set the thermostat
If you have a central heating system, be sure to set the thermostat to a lower temperature before you leave. Generally, it's best to set the thermostat to around 15 degrees Celsius.
11. Seal up cracks and gaps
Make sure there are no spaces or cracks around your windows and doors. As a result, pests like rats and insects will be kept out, and drafts will be prevented. You can easily purchase sealant at most hardware stores.
12. Keep your home clean and clutter-free
Before you depart on your trip, make sure your house is neat and orderly. This will make it more difficult for burglars to hide if they break into your home, and it will also make it easier to spot any signs of forced entry when you return.
13. Cancel or pause monthly subscriptions
Of course, you'll also want to cancel any monthly subscriptions or deliveries before you leave for your trip. Food delivery services and automatic renewal purchases are examples of this. It’s also a good budget-saving tip to pause any gym memberships, phone plans, or even your tv provider plan that won’t be used during your time away.
14. Periodical checks while you are away
Even if you take all the necessary steps to winterize your home, having someone check on your home periodically while you're away is still a good idea. Someone you know, like a friend or neighbour, could do this, or you could employ a service. They can help to ensure that everything is in working order and that there are no signs of forced entry.
Leave your worries at home
Winterizing your home before you head south for the winter is essential if you want to avoid any costly damage or repairs. By following these simple tips, you can rest assured knowing that your home is in good hands while you're enjoying some time in warmer weather.
As you prepare for your winter away, make sure to contact a soNomad agent to help you find the best travel insurance policy for your needs.