Snowbirds: How to Prep Your Home for a Winter Away

Snowbirds aren’t actually birds, but if you’re reading this you already know that – since you are one! Being a snowbird means you can pack your bags and head for warmer climes when the weather gets cold. It’s an enviable lifestyle, but with it comes some particular responsibilities. Responsibilities like making sure your empty home stays a-ok while you’re down south soaking up the sun.

To make the process easy, we’ve created a “snowbird checklist” for anyone who needs to know how to prep their home for a winter away. Follow this list and you’ll be good to go.

The Snowbird Checklist

  • Have your mail forwarded to the address where you’ll be during the winter, so you don’t miss any important mail.
  • Have a trusted friend staying up here do things like collect packages and shovel your driveway while you’re away.
  • Unplug all unnecessary appliances.
  • Clean, defrost, and unplug your refrigerator. Make sure there is no moisture left inside before you leave to keep mold from developing.
  • If you have any fireplaces, make sure you have updated screen-caps to guard your chimney from any potentially nesting birds.
  • Ask the same friend we mentioned earlier if they’re willing to be on hand in case of emergency. Promise you’ll bring them back souvenirs as thanks.
  • If no one is going to visit your home while you’re gone, turn off the water supply. A burst pipe is difficult to handle when you’re home. Now imagine it left unaddressed for months. Find out if your home has a heating system that can handle the water being turned off by talking to a professional.
  • Drain your pipes, toilet tank, and toilet bowl.
  • Set the temperature of your in-home thermostat to approximately 55 degrees fahrenheit. This is a good temperature to keep the pipes in your home from freezing. It will also minimize your away-from-home heating bill.
  • Keep doors and cabinets open to improve the flow of warm air through the house.
  • Drain all outdoor water fixtures.
  • Use pipe insulation for an extra level of protection.
  • Clean the whole place! You don’t want any pests finding their way in while you’re gone because you forgot to empty one or two garbage bins.
  • Install motion-sensitive lights on the exterior of your home to encourage anyone who happens to be coming by and looking for vacant homes.
  • Make sure your in-home alarm systems are working before you leave.
  • You can take additional physical security precautions when protecting your empty home’s integrity by installing deadbolts and security hinges on all exterior doors.
  • If you own valuable items you’re not taking with you, place them in a safe or an offsite safe deposit box. That way, you don’t have to worry about them going missing.

This list will help you keep your home safe and sound during the winter time, so you can enjoy your time in the sun.

If you want to take the extra step in making sure your home is ready to handle the winter, you can contact the experts at Blue Ox Heating & Air for a regular maintenance check-up. We’re always happy to help.