If you own a cabin or summer home, this is the time of year to close the property for the season. The list below offers a number of things to consider when shutting down your vacation home for the winter:
- Inspect your property. Take a walk around the inside and outside of your property to see if anything has been damaged. Create a checklist based of what you find and decide if it’s something that should be fixed now or when you open your home next spring. Items to inspect include your roof, chimney, eaves troughs, siding, foundation, trees that are leaning over your property, and out buildings.
- Turn off the water. Turn off the water at the main supply point to prevent freezing pipes. Even if you keep your home heated during the winter, this is important in case your furnace fails or the power goes out.
- Open your faucets and drain all water lines, including your appliances. Even if you turn off the main water supply into the home. It’s also important to drain the excess water from the water lines that run your appliances, sinks, and toilets.
- Temperature monitoring system. If you heat your home during the winter, consider purchasing a temperature-monitoring system. Some of them send e-mail alerts if the temperature in the home drops below 55 degrees.
- Water flow monitoring systems. If you choose to leave your water on during the winter, consider purchasing a water flow monitoring system. This attaches to your water main and protects your entire house. The system works by measuring water flow into your house, and detects continuous water flow beyond the normal starting and stopping of your every day appliances, it stops the water flow automatically.
- Empty and clean your appliances. Remove all food from the refrigerator and leave freezer doors slightly ajar to prevent mold and mildew growth. Clean your oven and wipe it down with disinfectant. If you have a washer and dryer, disconnect the hoses and unplug them. Consider running a normal cycle of vinegar or whatever is recommended by the manufacturer of the washer. Drain your water heater.
- Store outdoor furniture in a locked garage or shed.
- Create a home inventory. You may want to consider installing a security system.
- Inspect your fireplace and have the chimney cleaned.
- Partner with your neighbors or local police. If you have neighbors or friends who live near your summer home all year round, consider asking them to check on your home periodically.
Source: West Bend Cares Blog 9/13