Prepping Your Home for Winter Travel
Whether you’re heading south for the winter or just going on a quick holiday, there are some key things you’ll want to do to protect your vacant home.
1. Change the Thermostat Batteries
Changing the batteries in your thermostat can help to ensure your furnace is being controlled properly at the temperature that you’ve programmed it at. Dead batteries can result in your furnace shutting down while you’re away.
2. Turn Down the Thermostat
If you’re going away for a short period and not draining your water pipes, you’ll want to keep your furnace running to ensure the pipes do not freeze. Set your thermostat somewhere between 12 and 15 degrees celsius to save money on your energy bill.
3. Change the Furnace Filter
A clean new furnace filter will allow the air to flow through your furnace unobstructed, reducing the chances of equipment shutdown while you’re away.
4. Clean the Fresh Air Intakes of Any Debris
Ensure your furnace has proper airflow and reduce the chance of it shutting down by clearing all of the outdoor fresh air intakes of any debris or snow. Hoarfrost is a major culprit of furnace shutdowns during cold fronts in the winter, as frost and ice build-up inside your warm intake vents. You can usually clean this out with your hands, but sometimes a hairdryer is helpful to melt any ice or stubborn snow.
5. Turn Off the Water & Drain Your Taps
If a pipe bursts while you’re away, this could cause significant damage to your home and belongings. Consider turning your water shut-off valve to stop the supply of water to your home. After doing this, drain your taps by letting the water run, and flushing the toilet a few times. This step is usually reserved for snowbirds leaving for the season, but maybe right for your home depending on the length of your time away. Regardless of whether you choose to turn all of the water off or not, make sure you check that all taps are closed tightly and nothing is left dripping or running.
6. Leave a List for Your House-Sitter
If you’re having someone check in on your home while you’re away – make it easy on them and yourself – leave them a checklist and list of important numbers. We recommend including the following items:
- Thermostat temperature should be at: ____
- Hot tub temperature should be at: ___
- Please check the following:
- The furnace is running
- The fridge is cold
- The freezer is cold
- There is no leaking water
- If you need to get ahold of me, call/ text me at ___ or email me at ___
- If a plumber is needed, call ___
- If there is a furnace issue, call ___