Preparing your Home for a Vacation over the Holidays
If the idea of spending the holidays on a tropical beach or at an all-inclusive resort is your idea of celebrating, keep in mind that winter goes on at home. Preparing your home for winter weather is the best way to ensure that you aren’t faced with costly and inconvenient repairs when you return.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
When water freezes, it expands. If your pipes are full of water when they freeze, they could burst, causing a flood in your home. The best way to prevent this is to keep the pipes from freezing.
If you will only be gone for a few days, the best way to prevent frozen pipes is to keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If the weather forecast calls for extremely cold temperatures, leave a faucet dripping to keep water flowing through your pipes, and leave the cabinets under each sink open. This will allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
If you plan to be away for longer than a few days, consider shutting off the water supply to your home.
Secure Your Home Against Storm Damage
Before you leave for your vacation, do some basic winter home maintenance: check all of your windows and doors to make sure they are sealed tightly. Winter storms can blow snow and rain into your home through small cracks, causing serious water damage. If you can feel drafts around the windows or doors, consider sealing them with a plastic window sealing kit, available at most home improvement stores.
Ask A Friend to Check In
Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to check on your home while you’re away, especially if winter storms are forecasted. Be sure to leave your itinerary and contact information, as well as the names and phone numbers of your homeowners’ insurance agent and your plumber.
What to do If Disaster Strikes While You’re on Vacation
If the worst happens, and your home sustains winter storm damage, flooding from burst pipes, or other damage, it is crucial to call a professional disaster recovery team immediately. The faster they can get started, the better their chances of minimizing the damage to your home. Most disaster restoration companies have a 24-hour emergency phone number and can be at your home within a few hours to assess the damage and begin cleanup.