Central Ohio Homes face all the onslaughts of winter and the cold. Snowbirds who head south for winter can help protect a vacant home with some easy steps. Theft, water damage, heating and electrical system malfunctions are possible threats while a person is away for long periods of time. Learn how to winterize a home to avoid some of the pitfalls that occur with a home left unoccupied for the cooler months.
A home which appears occupied is going to be a less likely target for theft. The following steps can help:
Forward mail, stop newspaper delivery or ask a friend to collect items
Arrange for snow removal after storms
Use motion-sensitive exterior and interior lights on timers and set for varying times to discourage prowlers
Thieves may notice when a family has left a home unoccupied and try to gain access to the property and items left in the home. Start with the following steps to protect a home from thieves:
Secure external doors and windows with deadbolt locks and install locks on sliding glass or French doors
Do not post vacation or travel plans on social media where potential thieves can find the information easily
Store valuables left behind in a safe deposit box or secure offsite location
Water damage can be a huge expense and headache for homeowners who are away for the winter. Follow these tips to avoid water damage:
Completely turn off water supply if nobody is living in the home for a long period of time. Consult with a heating professional about options for heating systems
Drain pipes of water by opening faucets, flushing the toilet and pouring antifreeze into the toilet tanks and bowls to prevent remaining water from freezing and cracking
When a family vacates a property for a period of time, the water supply may stay on. If this is the case, here is what to do for protection against the elements:
Keep furnace running to help ensure home stays warm and pipes do not freeze if not draining water pipes
Set temperature at 55 degrees or higher to help keep interior of the floor and wall cavities above freezing (where water pipes are located).
Shut off water to washing machines and dishwashers to avoid leaks
Turn off heat source and water supply to hot water heaters
Consider shutting off and draining outdoor water faucets
Routine maintenance checks are important for a home. Have the heating system inspected and serviced before winter. The fuel tanks must be filled and someone should check fuel levels while the family is away. Be sure to maintain electrical power if the heating system will be running. Remove dead trees or limbs to avoid property damage and unplug all unnecessary appliances prior to leaving.