Millions of Americans are snowbirds, loosely described as people who live in colder climates who stay in Florida or another warm-weather state during the winter. If you are preparing for travel soon, be sure that you spend time getting your house ready to sit unattended in your absence.

Prevent Your Home from Freezing While You Are Away

If you live in a state with extremely cold winters, you may worry about the possibility of your plumbing and pipes freezing and bursting. The good news is that you can take several steps before you leave to avoid coming home to a mess. These include:

  • Leave your thermostat set to about 55 degrees while you are gone. This temperature is high enough for your home to withstand any damage from a deep freeze but cool enough to not run up your electricity bill too much.
  • Change your furnace filter to prevent dirty air from circulating through your home in your absence.
  • Shut off your home’s water supply by locating the main power valve in your utility closet, garage, or basement. You should also consider hiring a plumber to drain all your pipes before you leave. Don’t forget to turn off your water heater as well.
  • Put away all outside equipment like lawn chairs and decorations to prevent them from freezing. Make sure you lock your garage and any outbuildings on your property before you leave.
  • Hire someone to clean your home’s gutters to prevent a build-up of ice that can cause roof damage.

If you live in a community that requires you to shovel the sidewalk in front of your home, you will need to hire someone to do that while you are spending time in a sunnier climate.

Visit the Doctor

You will enjoy your time away from home more knowing you are in good health, so be sure to schedule a physical before you go. If you do not already receive 90-day supplies of your medications by mail, consider asking your doctor to change your prescriptions to allow you to pick up large supplies before departing. Checking in with your doctor is especially important if you plan to drive to your winter home just to be sure your cognitive and physical reflexes are strong enough for the long journey.

Other Last-Minute Tips

Since pests do not take the winter off from trying to get into your home or garbage, make sure you avoid tempting them by leaving any food in the home or your garbage cans full. You will also want to seal any gaps on your home’s exterior to prevent them from getting inside.

Most homeowners’ insurance companies require policyholders to have someone check on their home if they are going to be away for an extended time. You might consider having a friend or neighbor stop in once a week for peace of mind while you are hundreds or thousands of miles away. You will need to inform the post office to hold your mail until you return or request temporary forwarding.

We hope these tips help you when preparing for travel. If you are considering a permanent move to Florida, we invite you to contact Solivita Living to learn more about our 55+ active retirement communities.