The gorgeous fall here in New England is in its prime. Now is the perfect time for snowbirds to plan for their southern retreat.  

If you are a snowbird getting ready to head for warmer weather in the next couple of months, you must winterize your home before leaving. After all, you don’t want to return to burst pipes or find that winter pests have made your home their base while you were away. These tasks can take time, so start at least a couple of weeks before you decide to pack up and head for warmer climates. 

Use the Perry Brothers Construction checklist to ensure that all bases are covered when preparing your home for snowbirding.  

1. Begin On the Outside 

Move all items into your garage, shed, or other storage area. These include garden décor like fountains, grills, gardening items, and any patio furniture which may rust or get blown away. A thorough landscape cleaning is necessary too.  

Check all gutters and clear obstructions like leaves, acorns, and other debris, so rain and melting snow flows freely without the risk of forming ice dams. While you are at it, inspect weather-stripping, doors, and windows for gaps. It is how water, wind and other furry winter friends can get access to your cozy, unattended home.  

2. Protect Your Pipes to Avoid Water Damage  

Shut off your water supply to prevent damaging pipes that can in turn, cause significant damage. If your home gets heated by an older steam unit, consult with an HVAC professional to know if it is safe to turn off the water supply for your heating system. If a fire sprinkler system serves your home, do not turn off the water supply to it. Instead, shut down the water at the main valve and drain the pipes. For a more professional checkup of all plumbing facilities, hire a licensed plumber to complete these steps. 

3. Warm Your Home and Plumbing if Water Supply Stays On 

If you wish to keep the water running through the pipes, you must ensure that the furnace stays on. Temperatures at or above 55°F  help keep the floor interiors and wall cavities above freezing, so the water in the pipes doesn’t freeze. It is best to shut down and drain outdoor taps to avoid damage. Have a water flow and temperature sensor fitted to your main water supply and connect it to a monitored alarm system or your smartphone. 

4. Have Your HVAC Maintenance Done 

Hire local HVAC professionals to conduct seasonal maintenance on your HVAC system to ensure it works properly. Change any filters as needed. Unplug appliances like TVs and microwaves that don’t need to run while you’re gone. It will save energy as well as prevent damage should a power surge or lightning hit the house. 

5. Leave the Doors Open 

Leave doors of rooms, closets, pantries open to improve ventilation in a locked-up house. Leave dishwasher and washing machine doors open, as this allows the appliances to dry out and doesn’t let mold set in. You may want to clear out and do a deep clean of your refrigeration systems and shut it down as well. If you do this, prop open the doors to avoid mildew from taking over.  

Close up your fireplace by shutting the flue and covering the chimney before you leave town. If your chimney doesn’t have a covering, have one installed. 

Install smoke detectors in your home that are connected to a constantly monitored fire alarm system. 

Do you have old windows or doors that are broken, drafty, or allowing moisture to get in and cause damage? Now is the time to get them replaced! Contact Perry Brothers to help you prepare your home for the snowbirding season or get a free online quote.