Extended Vacation Tips, for your homeDecember 8, 2011
If you frequently leave your home to travel, especially during the winter months, it is important to make sure your home is secure, in the event of prolonged periods of freezing temperatures, and of course fire or theft. By following these simple steps you can protect your home and prevent costly damage from occurring.
1. Check all water sources - Turn off your faucets throughout the home. Check drains to make sure they are open and ready to drain if necessary. Turn off the water supply valve on your toilet and water lines to your washing machine. Drain exterior water pipes and any pipes that run through unheated areas (such as a garage, crawlspace or unheated porch). If draining these pipes is not possible, wrap them with foam insulation or heat tape.
2. Check your thermostats - Make sure your thermostats are turned down, but not completely off. A good temperature to keep your thermostats set to is around 15oC. This helps prevent your water lines from freezing during winter months, and prolonged absences.
3. Unplug electrical appliances and computers (but not the refrigerator) - Power outages and/or power surges may cause undue stress on any electric equipment, and it saves on your electrical bill by not keeping these appliances plugged in.
4. Smoke and CO alarms - make sure your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms have fresh batteries, and are at less than 5 years old, as after 5 years the elements within the alarms can lose their sensitivity and the entire unit should be replaced. When you are going to purchase a new CO Detector, make sure it is approved to the latest standards. Look for CSA 6.19 or CSA 6.19-01 on the packaging.
5. Roof gutters - should be cleaned every fall after leaves have fallen from the trees. This will prevent freezing mass in gutters and opening the seams to leaks. Best to have this done by professionals.
6. Hot water heaters - You may wish to turn the circuit breaker off to your hot water heater to save energy.
7. Pools and Hot Tubs - must have heat or circulation pumps running to prevent freezing.
8. Remove all freezable products - (i.e. Latex paint) from cold areas and store in warm place away from open flame.
9. Outside flower pots - (unless frost free) should be moved to warm areas to prevent frost cracking.
10. Leave interior doors open - for warm air to displaced into cold areas to prevent plaster and drywall cracks.
11. Neighbors - let a trusted neighbor know when you’ll be away and give them a set of your house keys allowing them to check in on your place from time to time to water plants or pick up any stray newspapers or mail. Timers on lamps within the home give your home a ‘lived in’ appearance.
12. Relative Humidity - moisture levels must be controlled within the home to stop flooring from shrinking and squeaking and fine furniture from coming loose at the joints. The following is recommended.
Moisture levels must be controlled within the home. Relative humidity should be as follows:
Outside Temperature / Relative Humidity (Inside Home)
Above 0oC / 50% to 60%
0 to –12oC / 40%
-12 to –18oC / 35%
-19 to –24oC / 25%
-25 to –30oC / 20%
-31oC or below / 15%
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