Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching as evidenced by a walk through the mall or retail stores. It’s not even Halloween yet and the Christmas decorations are already trimming the seasonal aisles. If you’re making travel plans for the holidays and won’t have a house sitter, you’ll want to make sure you take steps to prepare your home. Failure to prepare your home for winter traveling could prove to be an expensive mistake.
Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter Traveling
Prepare Your Pipes for Freezing Temperatures. Turn off all water mains on the property. Starting upstairs, open all faucets to drain the water out. Then pour non-toxic plumber’s grade antifreeze or several ounces mineral oil into the toilet bowls and tanks and cover with plastic wrap. The last steps will help seal the sewage valve and prevent sewage evaporation into your home (yuck!).
Conserve Energy and Prevent Fires. Unplug unnecessary appliances, set thermostat to a minimum of 58 degrees and turn down or turn off water heater. Close gas lines, make sure fireplace flue is closed, and address any other hazard your specific home might present.
Prevent Flooding and Subsequent Mold Growth. Check on your sump pump. If it isn’t working properly, consider fixing or having a new one installed by an expert.
Clear the Fridge and Freezer, especially if power outages are common during adverse winter weather. Be sure to also take out all trash.
Contact the Post Office and have them hold your mail.
Contact Your Property Insurance Company and arrange for emergencies – Be sure you have taken all required steps necessary to protect your home from policy loopholes if your home is damaged while you are gone. For longer trips, you might also choose to notify the local police department to let them know your home will be vacant. Leave a key with your neighbor in case of emergencies and ask them to periodically check on your home. If humidity builds up inside, have them open up the windows to circulate the air to prevent mold growth.