The Snowbird’s Checklist for Returning to the Winter Nest
When the temperatures begin to drop and you can see your breath hang in the air when you exhale, when the frost begins to form on the windshields in the early morning and the concrete sends a chill through your bones, the snowbird knows that it’s time to fly south for the winter.
But returning to a home that has been shut down all summer presents a daunting list of chores. There is so much to do to get your home ready for habitation again. To ensure that your time spent at your home away from home is as pleasant as possible, you must properly reopen your home for the winter season.
Take a walk around the perimeter. Check for any broken windows or indications of a break-in. Pay close attention to your roof. Do you see any malformed shingles? Is there anything on the ground around the house’s perimeter that may have tumbled from the roof? If you have drain pipes or gutters, be sure to clear them of any debris that may have accumulated in your absence.
It is important to check and turn on your pool equipment once you arrive back at your vacation home. Clear the filtration basket, check for debris and turn on the circulation and filtration system. Even the best motorized equipment can fail when left unused for extended periods of time. If you find equipment failure, you’ll want to get your pool operational as soon as possible, so find a retailer like In the Swim that has parts you may need in stock and ready to ship to your door.
Walk through the house and ensure that everything is where you left it. Again, look for any signs of burglary or forced entry.
If you run any kind of radiant heat or central air system be sure to turn it on slowly, over a series of days, this will be a benefit to your interior woodworking, doors, cabinets and wood floors.
If things are in order, continue through the checklist.
Check that your appliances are in working order. Turn the dishwasher on and off, check to see if the time indicated on the microwave is still accurate. If not, this could indicate a power outage while you were away and the breaker may need to be reset. Additionally, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors whether they are newer or older, as batteries experience capacity loss over time. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to safety equipment.
Since water damage is the number one culprit in home damage claims, it is especially important to check the plumbing. Hot water heaters are often at fault, so check out that unit first. Often when a hot water heater breaks, it leaks from the bottom, so if you see any liquid at the base of the unit, call for a repair. If not, proceed with firing the heater back up. If your water heater does not have an electric ignition, you will have to light the pilot light by hand and then wait for the water to heat up before you even think about showering.
Turn the A/C unit on and off. There is often a strange smell when starting the A/C or the heater. This is normal unless the smell persists. If so, it may require a technician. Also, check the toilets. If you turned the water off when you departed, run a test cycle to make sure the line is functioning properly.
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