Checklist For Preparing The House Before Leaving For The Winter Holidays

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preparing the house before leaving for the winter

If you’re a big fan of skiing and nothing is stopping you from going on that 2-week holiday up in the Austrian Alps, you probably have a long checklist with things you need to prepare so that your holiday is perfect. One aspect that is often overlooked is making sure you prepared your house correctly for the lengthy period you’ll be spending away. You need to make sure you are preparing the house before leaving for the winter. Even if you’re away for a shorter period, in wintertime, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. To avoid any headaches that can easily shadow the great time you had on the winter holidays, make sure to go over these HomeMakerGuide and come back to a warm, welcoming, and entire house.  

Below is a checklist for preparing the house before leaving for the winter holidays

Checklist for preparing the House Before Leaving for the Winter Holidays
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Making Sure You’re Safe from Thieves

It’s a known thing that thieves take advantage of the winter holiday period to target empty houses. Even though everyone thinks it can’t happen to them, an abandoned house over the winter holidays makes for an easy pray most of the time. There are some things you can do to make sure your home doesn’t appear unoccupied and reduce the risk of breaking in.

  • When away, forward your mail so that it’s not piling up in your mailbox and let criminals know there’s nobody home
  • Ask your neighbor or hire a professional to remove snow after a storm
  • Install motion-activated lights on the outside and lights with timers on the inside to make it look like someone is home
  • Don’t forget to set up the alarm when you go
  • Store valuables in a hard-to-reach spot in the house or even a safe deposit box if you’re gone for a longer time  

Making Sure You Don’t Have Any Pipe Problems

Option 1 – Turn Off the Water Supply

With thieves out of the equation, one of the biggest threats for your empty home during the winter season comes from the water supply, namely pipes. We don’t have to tell you just how much damage a leak or burst pipe can do while you’re away. That’s why you should seriously consider turning off the water supply.

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Before doing so, you should consult with a professional and make sure turning the water off will not affect other systems in the house. Also, just turning off the water isn’t enough; you will need to open the faucets and make sure all the water from the pipes is drained. Flushing your toilet is also a must so that the water inside the toilet tank doesn’t freeze while you’re away.

Option 2 – Keep the Heat On

If you think turning off the water supply is just too complicated and you’re better off leaving it on, you need to make sure the temperature inside the house stays above freezing. It is the option most people go even though it’s not the most economical. Nobody wants to return from a holiday in a freezing home. And we all know just how long it can take for the house to warm up again after the walls get cold.

Anything around 55 degrees Fahrenheit should do the trick for all the pipes and plumbing in your house to maintain an above-freezing temperature while you’re away. However, just keeping the heat on doesn’t solve all your problems. You still need to make sure to:

  • Turn off the water to dishwashers and washing machines to avoid having broken hoses
  • Make sure you close all the outdoor faucets to prevent freezing
  • If your hot water source is different than the boiler, you should also turn the heat off since you won’t be using any hot water

Other Maintenance Works You Should Consider

The second scenario sounds pretty good, leave the heat on, and everything will be just fine. Plus, you come back to a pleasant temperature and can still enjoy the afterglow of that fantastic winter holiday. However, this scenario only applies if the heating unit and all other appliances in your house are in top shape. You’d maybe want to make sure that’s the case by:

  • Inspecting the heating system and make sure the service interval isn’t due or will expire while you’re away
  • Double-check the electric system so that there won’t be any power issues 
  • If your area is known to get hit by massive snowstorms, installing an emergency generator is also a great idea. Your heating system keeps functioning even in the case of an enormous. 
  • Inspect chimneys to make sure they’re not easily blocked by snowfall.
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These are the main things you should check for before leaving on a long winter holiday. Of course, if you know your house has certain particularities or weaknesses in the cold season, you should make sure that everything is safe and stable while you’re away. Such vulnerabilities could concern the roof, hydro-insulation, or overall home winterization.

How does your checklist for getting the house ready for the winter holidays look like? Help inspire our other readers with your tips and tricks and feel free to add anything we may have missed, using the comments section below.

I hope you enjoy these tips for preparing the house before leaving for the winter Holidays. Find more great tips in our house and home archives.

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