If you own a summer home at Smith Mountain Lake, VA then you know how harsh our Winter’s can be. It is very important to take care of your vacation property. Winterizing your home for the winter doesn’t have to be a laborious task. Follow these simple instructions to help keep your home in pristine working condition while unoccupied during the harsh winter months.
Inside the home
- Set temperature to 55 degrees to prevent freezing and cracking in water, heating/AC hoses/pipes.
- Unplug all appliances.
- Turn off water and unplug electricity for washer, dishwasher (to prevent leaks) and dryer.
- Thoroughly clean the fridge and throw away any opened foods.
- Throw away any opened food in the pantry.
- Set mice traps as necessary, to prevent them from entering and multiplying while the house in unoccupied.
- Install rubber strips at the bottom of the door to prevent drafts.
- Install plastic film or bubble wrap on windows to ensure minimum heat lost.
- Insulate water heater and water pipes.
- Fire place should be professionally cleaned (to help ensure that there are no obstructions), flute closed (to prevent squirrels, birds and bats from entering) and close fireplace damper.
- Thoroughly check for leaks inside and outside the home.
Outside the home
- Inspect home for cracks inside and outside.
- Trim trees and branches that may fall and or be weighted down during snow storms/snow.
- Replace missing, worn or broken shingles.
- Do not post vacation dates on social media.
- Inform local police department of vacation date, along with phone number, in case of an emergency. Ask department to drive by the house once a week.
- Make the house seem occupied. Install light timers inside and outside, set at specific time to turn on and off.
- Forward all mail to where you’ll be staying.
- Ask trusted friend/neighbor/family to pick up news paper, and to check the house at least once a week to ensure that there are no leaks, or electrical issues.
- Ensure that smoke detectors are working and have fresh batteries. A smoke detector in each floor is preferable.