How to Winterize Your Vacation Home
From your Home Buying/Selling Guide
Winterizing your vacation home, or preparing it for any off season, helps minimize the dangers your retreat might face while you are away.
- Clean your vacation home's gutters so that rain water drains away from the house quickly.
- Pruning tree limbs that hang over your home or nearby utility lines can help lessen damage during winter wind and ice storms.
- Drain water from all outside hoses. Cover all outside faucets with insulation if you'll be away from your vacation home during cold months.
- Close the swimming pool or hire a professional to do it.
- If you can reach it safely, disconnect your home's small satellite dish and store it indoors.
- Store lawn furniture, grills, tools, and other items inside. If that isn't possible, cover with plastic and secure them in a protected location.
- Clean your vacation home's refrigerator thoroughly. Unplug it, and prop the door open. Unplug other appliances.
- Turn off water at the main line, even if your vacation home is in a warm climate. No one will be home to find plumbing leaks.
- If your vacation home will be empty during cold months, hire a professional to winterize the plumbing.
- Turn off your home's propane or natural gas. Get help from a professional if you aren't sure what to do.
- Make arrangements to continue pest inspections and pest treatments if necessary.
- Turn off the home's electrical power at the main breaker.
- Notify the Postal Service to forward your mail. Stop newspaper delivery.
- Screen-covered gutters are a good investment if your vacation home is in an area near falling leaves or pine needles.
- If humidity is high, it might be best to leave the furnace or air conditioning on while you are away, to discourage mildew and odors. Talk with others who leave for the season, to see what's worked best for them.
- Find someone who will drop by your vacation retreat occasionally to make sure it is secure. Be sure they know how to reach you.
More How To's from your Guide to Home Buying/Selling