As summer comes to a close, vacationers are getting ready to close their summer homes for the season. Summer homes, even those in warmer regions, need to be winterized before cold weather comes to stay.
Prior to packing up your patio chairs, consider these tips for winterizing a summer home:
Make Windows Weather Ready
High winds, freezing temperatures and heavy precipitation can wreak havoc on any property, but particularly one that’s left unattended for most of the year.
Bob Vail—a builder and remodeler in Cumberland Center, Maine, and owner of Vail General Contracting—places shutters on windows to protect them from severe weather. The type of window that’s installed is also important, he says, noting that while easy-tilt windows are easy to install, they can also break easily and are somewhat likely to spring weather-related leaks.
Prime Your Pipes
When frozen pipes burst, they can cause flooding that leads to tens of thousands of dollars in damage, says Doug Myers, owner of HomePro Inspections, a New York-based home inspection company serving Hudson Valley and the Catskills. “Even a minor leak will cost thousands when it goes undetected for weeks.”
To prevent pipes from freezing, turn off your water at the main supply point and be sure to drain every pipe. “Ideally, a summer home will have a release valve wherever you turn the water on and off that drains all of the pipes,” says Rosie Romero, a remodeler who hosts Rosie on the House,” a home improvement radio show in Arizona.
You may be tempted to turn off the heat at your summer home to save money, but this can cost you big time if your pipes freeze and burst. To stay out of the disaster zone, heat should be kept on low, somewhere between 50 and 55 degrees, Myers says.
For homes in warmer regions, Romero recommends setting the thermostat to 60 degrees, which helps remove moisture and keep condensation in air units at bay.
Plan Regular Inspections
Make sure to have a contractor or property owner inspect your home a few times throughout the winter to identify any potential problems, Romero says, such as built-up condensation or frozen pipes. He or she can also keep an eye out for possible security issues that may arise while you’re away.
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