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A Guide for Snowbirds Before They Fly South

October 20, 2015
As more baby boomers are retiring, many are becoming snowbirds and flying south for the winter. But, it isn't as easy as locking the door and leaving.
The following checklist can help you prepare your home for the months you are away:

Get started early – Don’t wait until the day of your departure; chances are, you will forget something. Make a list and go through it at least two days prior to leaving, and then create a new, out-the-door list.

Phone, cable, utilities – Turning off your utilities isn’t as easy as you think. If you cancel your cable, it is best to drop off your converter box at the cable location so you will not be charged for not returning the unit. Consider downgrading or stopping your landline if the re-install fees are not too high. Stop your newspaper delivery.

Heat – Most people in cold climates turn their thermostats down to save fuel. If you turn it too low, you could risk frozen pipes and damage to your home. As an example, if you set the thermostat to 55 degrees and an ice storm creates a power outage, the starting temp is so low that you risk a flood with an outage of just a few hours. Some experts recommend setting the thermostat at 58 degrees.

Water – Turn off the water at the main valve at the point where it enters your home. Some folks drain their pipes to avoid worrying about it. However, it is suggested that you use a professional, because it is not as easy as it sounds. Turn off the water to your washing machine and any outside fixtures, including your irrigation system, which should be drained.

Miscellaneous – Turn on your alarm systems and motion-activated lights and set interior lights on timers. Secure valuables that you are not taking with you in a safe deposit box or other secure location. Unplug all appliances. Arrange for a trusted relative, neighbor or friend to be available and have access to your house in case of an emergency.

Insurance – Let your agent know you will be gone if your house will be vacant for more than 30 days.

​Most importantly, enjoy!
Filed under: travel, winter