How To Secure Your Home While On Vacation - December 17th 2015
Q: We have a second vacation home that we go to on the winter months. Can you give us some guidelines regarding leaving our home unlived in for several months.
A: If you frequently leave your home to travel, especially during the winter months, it is important to make sure your home is secure against 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.
Water sources: Turn off the faucets throughout the home. Check drains to make sure they are open and ready to drain if necessary. Turn off the water supply valve to your toilets add 2 Tablespoons of mineral oil to the bowl, cover with saran wrap, close the lid and tape tight with masking tape. Close water lines to your washing machine. Drain exterior water pipes and any pipes that run through unheated areas. If draining these pipes isn't possible, wrap them with foam insulation or heat tape.
Thermostats: A good temperature to keep your thermostats set to is around 15 C. This helps prevent your water lines from freezing during winter months.
Electrical appliances: Unplug appliances before you leave and save on your electrical bill. Shut off all in line water supply sources such as ice makers, dish washers, humidifiers, instant hot water and all faucets.
Smoke and CO alarms: Make sure your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are less than five years old and have fresh batteries installed.
Have a family member or a trusted neighbour know when you'll be away. Give them a set of your house keys so they can check in on your place from time to time to water plants and pick up any stray newspapers or mail. Timers on lamps also give your home a lived-in appearance. It is also a good idea to check with your insurance carrier to see what their policy is on extended absences.