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Snowbirds – Some to-do’s before you head to warmer climates!

November 17, 2015

dianna_christinatThe south is calling your name. The warmer weather and sunshine cannot compete with all of the cold wind, rain and snow that is headed our way in New England. Before you start blasting Jimmy Buffet tunes in the RV – run through this quick checklist to ensure your northern home is in tip top shape for when you come home in the spring!

Trick Burglars

Burglars are watching – they love snowbirds. They will look for homes that show no sign of life inside. Don’t let them have the satisfaction of knowing you are nowhere close. Put your lights on timers – interior and exterior ones.

A week or so before you leave, put a stop to mail or forward all of your mail, newspapers, and deliveries to where you’ll be staying. This way you don’t have everything piling up indicating that no one is home.

Don’t forget about all of that snow you are missing. Burglars will pay attention to how the snow looks in your driveway and yard. Schedule snow removal while you are away.

Protect Your Home – Don’t forget the obvious!

Test your alarm system a few times before you leave. If you don’t have a central alarm, you might want to consider it. Many insurance carriers offer credits on homeowners policies for them. It doesn’t hurt to install new locks on the doors, just in case someone has already started planning on robbing your house by taking a copy of the lock for a key. Make sure you check all deadbolt locks and that all frames are secure. Get some slide locks for your sliding doors too because that’s a favorite entry point for thieves.

Take Care of Your Plumbing

Pipes cracking or bursting could easily become your worst nightmare. If you’re leaving for a long time, turn off the water winterizesupply. Once you do that, turn on all of your faucets and flush the toilets to rid the pipes of the water. A trick that many homeowners use is to pour antifreeze down the drains. This will keep any remaining water from freezing.

For extra assurance, you may want to call a plumber to blow compressed air into the pipes. This will remove and dry up any additional water in the pipes.

If you don’t want to turn your water supply off, it’s best to keep your home warm. It should be at least 55 degrees. You should also turn off water to your washing machine and dishwasher. You can also install low temp meters that will alert you if the temp drops to the point where a pipe can freeze and/or and water meters that will alert you if a pipe should burst.

Take Care of Maintenance Before Leaving

Clean up your yard before you leave. If there are any bushes or branches that could break and lead to home damage, cut them back. Be sure to clean out your gutters as well, since they can become packed with leaves and dirt resulting in ice dams. Getting your roof and heating system inspected is also a good idea since any problems could lead to costly repairs.

It’s great to have a neighbor willing to watch over your home while you are away. Leave a phone number where you can be reached at any time, and have all of the emergency numbers for your local community saved in your phone. You never know when an emergency will happen, but you can prepare for one.

Founders Insurance Agency cares about protecting you and your home. If you have any questions on how to better protect your home – don’t hesitate to give us a call! We aren’t plumbers or HVAC folks but we can surely point you in the right direction!

Dianna Christinat

Founders Insurance

Assistant Personal Lines Manager

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