Weatherproofing & Maintaining Your Vacation Home
Having a vacation home is a great way to enjoy your summer vacation or weekend getaway. However, a vacation home can require a lot of maintenance, especially if you are not there for long periods of time. If you don’t pay a landlord to manage your vacation home, it can become vulnerable to serious problems like plumbing leaks, roofing failures, and fire hazards. Here are some things you can do to maintain your vacation home and weatherproof it properly to ensure it stays safe.
Check the Roof
Always start with the roof since this is the area that really protects the home. Take the time to climb on the roof and make necessary repairs where you notice issues. Do you have problems with leaks? Are the gutters clean and working properly? Use gutter guards to keep leaves from building up in the gutter system. If water builds up and collects on the roof it can easily cause ice dams, leaks, and deterioration of the roofing shingles.
Prevent trees from falling on your roof by trimming them back. Trimming the trees will help prevent branches from crashing onto the roof or through the windows. Trimming also helps limit how many leaves fall onto the roof, which can clog the gutters and cause further problems.
Fix Outdoor Problems
There is always a potential that you will need to check on your vacation home in the winter months. It is a good idea to use some non-skid strips on the stairs to prevent yourself and others from falling if you stop by and check on the home when the ground is icy or wet. Preparing the exterior of the home is important for preventing serious weather issues.
Shut Off Water and Close Pipes
Prevent the pipes from freezing by shutting off the water supply. You’ll need to find the main supply line and shut it off so it doesn’t end up freezing and bursting. If a water line bursts, it can flood the entire home. Open all the faucets and drain the waterlines to get all the water out of the lines and prevent pipes from freezing. Close the sink and tub drains, and prevent water in the toilet trap by adding plastic wrap to the toilet bowl itself. Pour a small amount of antifreeze in the drains and toilet bowls.
Prepare for Cold Weather
Adding a new layer of weather-stripping to the windows and doors will help keep the cold air out of the home. This also helps prevent rodents and other pests from getting inside the home. Cover all the exterior windows with boards to prevent glass from breaking. Turn your thermostat down to just above freezing. If your vacation home is in a warmer climate, you can turn the heat off entirely. Don’t forget to shut off the gas as well to prevent problems. Also cover the chimney if you have one, and add another layer of insulation to the attic.
Go around the home and unplug all appliances. You do not want a fire to start when you are away. Unplugging the appliances and shutting off the main power supply can prevent a serious problem.
Hire a Professional
There are always some signs that show your home is vacant. If you are worried about break-ins, consider paying someone to maintain your home. A professional can check on the home to make sure it is safe, maintain the lawn, and take care of other yard work.