As the New England weather gets colder, it’s time for snowbirds to pack up and get ready to fly south to Florida for the winter. If you’re leaving Massachusetts for the winter, there are several important things you need to do to make sure your home will be safe (and energy efficient) while you’re away. Be sure to properly prepare your home so you can truly relax all winter long while you’re basking in the Florida sunshine. Need tips on how to reopen your winter home in Florida ? We can help with that too! Check out our blog “Florida Snowbirds: How to Reopen Your Winter Home”.
Closing Your Home Before You Fly South for the Winter
Leaving your home for several months is no small feat. You need to make sure your Massachusetts home is properly closed up to prevent damages, energy loss, and even intruders! Before you get on the plane, be sure to do these things.
One of the biggest fears that plagues snowbirds is that intruders will take advantage of the empty house. The good news is there are many different ways to ensure no one will try to break into your home while you’re gone.
- Call your post office to hold your mail or have it forwarded, and cancel your newspaper delivery. If mail or newspapers start to pile up, that’s a dead giveaway that no one is home.
- Set timers to turn lights on throughout the day to look like someone is there, and turn off the ringer on your phone.
- A phone that rings repeatedly without an answer is a clue that the house might be empty.
- Hire a plow service or a neighbor to clear snow for you – including any snow that might pile up on your roof.
- Contact your local police department to let them know the home will be empty and give them a trusted friend’s number as an emergency contact.
- If you have a home alarm system, be sure to set it and lock everything up.
- Finally, ask a friend to check in every once in a while. Sure, the whole process might seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it to protect your home and your peace of mind.
Unplug unused appliances
Devices that are plugged in use energy even when they’re not in use. Ensure you won’t waste energy this winter by unplugging all unnecessary devices. Be sure to pay extra attention to your big energy-sucking appliances. Unplug and clean your fridge, and leave the door open to prevent odors. Be sure to leave your dishwasher open for the same reason.
Test your CO and smoke detectors
You always want to know that your home is safe, but it’s especially important when you won’t be there to take care of it. Check the batteries on all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home and make sure they’re working.
Shut off water
Frozen pipes can burst, causing extensive (and expensive) damage to your home. Don’t let it happen to you; turn off your water before you leave. If no one is going to be in your home while you’re away, it may be best to turn off the main shutoff valve. Be sure to turn off outdoor valves as well. Although it is not necessary, you may also want to have a professional drain your pipes to erase any possibility of water damage.
Check the thermostat
While you won’t need to keep your home at temperatures comfortable for people to live in, you do need to run your heating system. You’ll want to keep your thermostat set at a reasonable temperature: warm enough so that your pipes don’t freeze but cold enough that you don’t spend your life savings on energy costs. The recommended temperature is between 55 and 60 degrees. The best way to regulate temperature while you’re gone? Install a programmable thermostat! Not only will you be able to set the exact temperature you want to keep your home, but you’ll also be able to monitor it wherever you are. You will always know what temperature your thermostat is set to, even if you’re across the country.
Change your furnace filter
Sure, you won’t be keeping your home at 75 degrees all winter, but your heating system will be in use. A dirty filter makes your heating system work harder, which uses more energy. Changing the filter is a simple way to cut down on your winter energy costs. On top of that, a clean filter cuts down on dust, meaning there will be less cleaning to do when you return in the spring.
Perform general home maintenance
You get to escape the winter, but your home doesn’t. Make sure to prepare your home for winter with some basic maintenance. Clean your gutters, clean and close up your fireplace, and take steps to prevent ice dams. It’s also worth checking your home for air leaks and reevaluating your insulation needs. Taking these extra steps in the fall ensures your home will be well prepared to face the bitter New England winter.
A Home Energy Assessment: Your Home’s Best Defense
A lot goes into preparing your home for your winter absence. If you’re not sure where to begin, a home energy assessment from Energy Monster can help you find areas of inefficiency in your home and address them. Your energy technician will help ensure you aren’t losing energy through leaks or improper insulation. They can even provide you with a programmable thermostat! Schedule your home energy assessment today; you’ll leave for the winter feeling assured that your home is safe and energy efficient.Return to Blog