While you're enjoying the milder temperatures of your favorite southern home, don't forget that the home you're leaving behind will still have to face the elements. To ensure that winter's harsh weather (and your absence) don't damage the home, here are five projects to do before departing. Make these projects part of any winter migration plans and your northern home will remain in pristine condition until you return in spring.
One of the most effective ways to protect the home from harsh winter temperatures is to prevent cold air from getting in. Walk around indoors and out looking for cracks or holes near any window. A tube of caulk can easily seal these gaps, preventing cold air from entering the home during the winter. This video shows how easy the process really is.
Home appliances have a large impact on the home's monthly electric bill -- about 13 percent of the overall bill, according to Energy.gov. To cut these expenses, unplug all non-essential appliances including computers, televisions, entertainment systems, and microwaves. This will eliminates the costs associated with their continued power drain and protects them from energy surges. Once all unnecessary appliances have been unplugged, take an inventory the refrigerator — if it can be emptied, do so, and then unplug it and prop the door open for the season.
Mowing might no longer be a concern, but you do need to prepare the yard before you leave.
Clean the gutters, as this helps melted snow flow efficiently through the system and protect the home from ice dams that could cause melting snow to seep into the home instead flowing of away from it.
Take stock of your trees by checking the foliage on your property, pay special attention to anything near the home. If a tree or any of its branches look aged or diseased, remove them. Otherwise the weight of the snow could cause the tree or branch to fall on the home and cause significant damage.
Having a professional examine your furnace is the best way to ensure it's ready for the winter ahead. You should also change your furnace filter. When leaving for the season, it's best to set the home's thermostat at 50 degrees, according to Popular Mechanics. This will keep the home warm enough to prevent any frozen pipes while minimizing the energy expenditure.
Take security measures before departing by installing motion-sensing lights outside the home. Also, cut back on your landscaping so it doesn't create inviting hiding spots for thieves. Reroute or hold the mail and alert a trusted neighbor of the upcoming trip so they can keep an eye out. Finally, don't broadcast the trip on social media, especially specific dates for departure and return. You can also use this article to learn how to disable Facebook's location tracking, providing additional protection.
We hope you do enjoy your time in the south, but all snowbirds should partake of these projects to protect your home in the north from any potential severe cold winter weather.