Quickly Learn How to Winterize Your Vacation Home
Heading back to civilization for the season from your Beaufort, NC, vacation home requires some winterizing to keep it protected and idyllic until your return. It does take a little effort to be sure it’s all done correctly, but following the tips below we at Four Seasons Heating & Cooling recommend can help ensure all’s well.
Keep That Heat On
Keeping the heat on while you’re gone will keep things running smoothly. You certainly don’t want your pipes to burst from freezing in an unexpected cold spell. Having your thermostat set at 55 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit is an agreed-upon range by most experts that will protect your home. The pipes in your exterior walls, attic, and crawlspaces will benefit from this heat, and you shouldn’t have an issue even with an unexpected cold turn. On top of this, keeping the heat on will keep mold and mildew at bay.
There are many who recommend completely turning off the water in your home while you’re gone to prevent mishaps. But there are other factors to consider before you start shutting down. If you’re only going to be gone for a few months, as opposed to the majority of the calendar year, turning off all the water and draining your toilet and hot water tanks could dry out washers and other fixtures. This could outweigh any advantages to turning it off. Upon your return, these now-cracked parts can cause leaks and other problems for you. So if you’re only leaving for a short while, consider leaving your water on. Your heat and/or temperate climate will keep your pipes from freezing, and if your climate is such that freezing pipes aren’t a common occurrence, it may be better in the long run. Just double check your plumbing before you leave to avoid any other unforeseen issues, maybe even schedule your annual plumbing inspection.
Another reason to consider leaving your water on is if you have an indoor sprinkler system––if you shut off your water, your sprinklers won’t work.
On the other hand, if your vacation home is in a climate that has periodic freezes or you’ll be gone for a good part of the year, think about shutting off the main water and draining everything. This includes your water tanks (hot water and soft water), all indoor and outdoor faucets, toilets, dishwasher, and washing machine. This helps to prevent burst pipes and floodings. But again, with the heat on and living in a temperate climate, this scenario probably isn’t too common.
This needs to be something you weigh for yourself. Feel free to get the advice of one of our professionals if you’d like extra input. No matter what you decide, it’s probably a good idea to consider shutting off and draining your outdoor hose bibbs, or spigots. This can prevent acts of mischief or vandalism.
Before you leave, you’re going to need to go around your home and unplug your appliances. There’s no reason to leave them drawing electricity. By disconnecting them, you’ll prevent any electrical surges from damaging them. The only things you might like to consider leaving plugged in and utilizing are some of your lights. Many vacation homeowners set up a lighting system to have it look like someone’s in the house, with their lights set to go on and off at different times. Also, having an electrician perform an annual electrical inspection before you leave can give you peace of mind that all’s well there.
Be sure to let your neighbors know when you leave, and ask them to keep a general eye on things. Give them a phone number where you can be reached in case of an emergency. Many people feel an extra level of security letting their local police department know they’re leaving their home vacant, as well as sharing an emergency phone number with them. One last recommendation––don’t post you’re leaving on social media. Many burglars and ne’er-do-wells look for just such innocent information to take advantage of the situation––and your belongings.
Having a vacation home can be such a joy. Be sure to skip the shortcuts and take the necessary steps to properly winterize it before closing up for the season. Taking these steps will go a long way in helping to prevent mishaps while you’re away. Contact Four Seasons Heating & Cooling for any help or advice you’d like with your winterizing. Reach us at 252-247-5500 or request service online. We’re happy to hear from you.