Before you leave your Cape Cod home during the coming winter season follow these steps to readiness.
Adjust and leave the setting on your heating system to 50-55 degrees to prevent pipes freezing.
You must turn off the main water shut-off valve whenever you leave your house for an extended period. The last thing you want to come back to next spring is a flooded home from a leaky or burst pipe. Open up all your faucets to drain pipes and drain toilets of water. Open all outdoor hose bibs as well. Lift up any flexible spray hoses in sinks and showers, and drain the trapped water in these hoses. Leave faucets partially open to prevent pressure buildup from the little bit of water that remains in your pipes. This will help prevent a burst pipe as the water expands with changing temperatures. A plumber can help you with winterizing if you are unsure how to prepare your pipes for winter.
Drain the hot-water tank and water softener. Pour non-toxic antifreeze into all toilet bowls, sinks, tubs, showers, washing-machine drains and floor drains.
If you own a modern house that is fairly airtight, the water vapor in the air inside may cause all sorts of problems. Once you leave the temperature of interior surfaces begins to drop and the water vapor in the air can condense on many surfaces, encouraging mold growth. Open windows slightly to allow air to readily circulate through the house. Have someone enter soon afterward to check for signs of condensation. Within several weeks, the indoor and outdoor humidity should have equalized. At that point, the windows can be closed and locked.
Turn off all non-essential electrical circuit breakers. Only leave on those circuits that control security. Unplug everything. Not only will this save you money as your unused appliances will not be using phantom energy, it also protects the house from an appliance shorting out and causing a fire or a surge of energy ruining your appliances.
Empty all perishable food from your refrigerator and kitchen storage. Wipe your fridge down, unplug it and be sure to keep the door to your refrigerator and freezer open. Closing it up will lead to a stinky fridge and promote mold and mildew growth.
Turn off your natural gas or propane supply valve outside your house if at all possible. Contact your local utility company or fuel supplier for help with this job.
Close the damper or flue on your fireplace. This will prevent snow, rain or animals from finding a way into your home.
Check your gutters. Don’t leave the gutters clogged.
Notify your local police and fire departments before you leave. Be sure they know how to reach you.
And finally, be sure to send Cape Cod Oceanview Realty your service and emergency contacts. During the off-season we are happy to be helpful to issues that may arise and during the rental season it is very important we have the correct contacts. If you have any changes before the next rental season begins please be sure to forward information to us.
See you in the spring!