Heading South for the Winter
Are you heading south to avoid the harsh winter months? you know that preparing your home before you leave is a tedious, sometimes difficult task. However, creating a thorough winter checklist can help protect your house against theft, water damage and other unwanted surprises. To help ensure everything goes smoothly, here are some important things to remember as you pack up and secure your home for the winter!
1. Forward your mail.
This is something you can do without leaving your house! Try logging on to www.USPS.com and clicking the "Track & Manage" tab. The United States Postal Service (USPS) can forward your mail for up to one year.
For newspaper, flyers or anything else that comes to your door, ask a neighbor or a family member to occasionally check your home for anything that accumulates on your doorstep or in your mailbox. A buildup of newspapers in the driveway or an overflowing mailbox is a tip off to intruders that the house is vacant.
2. Do not turn off the heat!
Set your thermostat between 55 and 60 degrees to reduce energy cost and help keep water pipes behind interior walls from freezing.
3. Shut off the water.
Doing this minimizes the risk of a flood. Be sure to turn off any valves inside, including automatic irrigation systems. To avoid any type of water leaks, it's always an option to have your pipes drained by a professional.
4. Prep your appliances.
Unplug electrical appliances to cut energy costs and reduce fire hazards.
5. Perform exterior maintenance.
If you live in a snowy area, arrange for someone to plow your driveway and sidewalks to avoid any liability issues. Make sure to also clean out your gutters so water drains easily. And of course, don't leave out any outdoor furniture or flowerpots that could blow away in the wind – put these items in storage!
6. Perform indoor maintenance.
Check your smoke alarm and make sure it has brand new batteries. If you have a chimney, close the flue to keep out any unwanted visitors such as birds, bats or squirrels. Putting a guard on top of the chimney is also something to consider. To put your mind at ease, go around and do last minute checks on all of your doors and windows. This is your last opportunity to make sure all of the locks work properly.
7. Consider setting up light timers throughout the home.
This will make it look like someone is home and ward off intruders. It's also not a bad idea to close all of the drapes at every window so no one can see that you're gone.
8. Check Security
Make sure your alarm system is working.
Store valuables in a safety deposit box or other secure location outside your home.
It's beneficial to have someone nearby on close watch in case they see anything suspicious around your home while you're gone. Be sure to give them all of your contact information and a list of service providers to call in case of an emergency, and let them know when you'll be returning.
9. Take your prescriptions and medical records with you
Bring copies of your prescriptions and pertinent medical records with you in case a trip to the doctor is necessary while you're away. Before you go, have a visit with your doctor to ensure that all of your prescriptions are up to date, too.
If you'll be gone through April 15th, remember to bring your pertinent tax information and important papers with you so you'll be able to file your taxes on time.
Remember, give yourself enough time to prepare and finish your checklist. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re forgetting something. We hope these tips help you make your move with peace of mind. Enjoy the sun, and be safe!
Simplified Insurance Agency – Insurance Made Simple!
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