While many Hamptons homeowners choose to summer in the Hamptons, they tend to vacate the area during the winter, preferring instead to spend the season with family and friends, or at winter sports destinations. If you’re not planning on spending the colder months in the Hamptons, you may be wondering: What do I have to do to prepare my house for the winter season?
You’ll have to take a series of steps to “winterize” your home. Winterization is the process of preparing a house for wintertime vacancy and will ensure that you come back to an intact, well-kept home for the spring and summer! Here’s what you’ll need to do when winterizing your Hamptons home.
A 5 step winterization checklist for getting your home ready:
1. Conduct roof and gutter maintenance
To start, clean out your gutters — if they’re not properly cleaned, they can become clogged and cause leaking and foundational damage. This is especially crucial to do when winterizing your home for two reasons: (1) Post-fall, it’s likely that leaves will have fallen into your gutters that will need to be cleaned out, and (2) Any excess water trapped in your gutters may freeze and damage your gutters and roof. Clean gutters will ensure that water from snow can drain properly during the winter.
The roof of your home can be a source of home damage if not properly tended to. You’ll also want to do some roof maintenance to make sure that your roof is able to withstand the winter weather. Most importantly, you’ll need to locate any signs of damage (such as loose/broken shingles), clear any debris, and trim any tree branches that risk damaging your roof. If you prefer to not go at it alone, enlist the help of a roofing contractor to conduct a thorough inspection.
2. Prevent the pipes from freezing
In order to make sure your pipes don’t freeze, you will need to control your in-home temperature and drain your plumbing system. First, adjust your thermostat — The Department of Energy recommends you set your thermostat to 50-55 degrees when going away for more than 3 days in the winter. While this can seem like an energy waste, it will help prevent pipes from freezing and save you the cost of repairs! Make sure to leave doors in your house open so that the heat can effectively permeate your home.
Your sprinkler system will also need attention in order to prevent freezing. First, you’ll need to ensure the water supply is shut off. You’ll then need to drain your irrigation system of all water; this is generally done through a process called “blowing out.” Additionally, make sure to insulate your main water valve and any aboveground piping.
You’ll also need to make sure there is no water in your plumbing system. Otherwise, you risk ending up with a burst pipe, as water expands when frozen. You’ll also want to apply antifreeze to applicable areas. Humming Homes can help you manage all of these processes to ensure that your pipes and irrigation system are thoroughly drained and prepared for the winter.
Shut off key valves and appliances to prevent damage
To prevent any leaks or flooding, as well as to save on costs, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Shut off your main water shutoff valve. This valve will usually be located in the basement of your home or on an exterior wall, and should be turned clockwise to be shut off.
- Open faucets to allow pipes to drain. Once you shut off the valve, it’s important to let any remaining water in your pipes drain so it doesn’t freeze in cold weather.
- Adjust your water heater setting. Depending on the type of water heater you have, it could be as simple as setting it to “vacation mode”, or you may have to lower the temperature.
- Inspect your sump pump: To avoid basement flooding due to rainwater, inspect your sump pump (a pump designed to remove accumulated water) to make sure it’s working. A good way to do this is to fill it with water to ensure that it activates. If it doesn’t activate, you’ll have to get it professionally repaired.
If you are not sure how to do any of the above, it’s important to consult a professional for help — Humming Homes can find experienced professionals to manage this process for you.
To prevent gas leaks and to make sure there are no problems with your gas line, you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional technician who can conduct a gas line inspection before you leave for the winter.
And don’t forget to unplug all your electrical appliances that won’t be in use, such as kitchen appliances, computers, and televisions.
3. Close all methods of entry
Prevent the elements from entering your home in the winter by sealing all methods of entry. Check all windows to ensure that they’re tightly closed and locked. It’s also a good idea to install storm windows in the event of a winter storm; this will have the added benefit of insulation. If your home has a fireplace, seal it by closing the flue or the damper to protect your home from inclement weather and local animals.
4. Clean and tidy thoroughly
Before leaving, make sure to clean a few key areas in your home. For starters, you’ll want to wipe down the fridge and throw out all perishable items — you don’t want anything to rot in the fridge in your absence!
As for any non-perishable food that will be fine to consume upon your return, seal it in airtight containers before storing it in the fridge or pantry. Make sure to take out all trash and recycling in the house. Additionally, if you have any outside furniture, don’t forget to store it inside the house or garage to keep it clean and safe from any inclement weather.
For a more thorough clean, you may wish to vacuum, change all bedding, and dust before leaving the house. Humming Homes can help find the right housekeeper or cleaning service provider to take care of all your household cleaning needs.
5. Take proactive measures towards “Home Watching”
Before leaving for the winter, it’s important to take all the necessary security measures to keep your home safe. If there are any neighbors in the area who will be staying throughout the winter, let them know that you will be away so that they can keep an eye out. You may even want to check up on your home every week, or use Humming Homes’ home watching services.
By taking all the necessary steps and precautions to properly winterize your home, you’ll be able to have a worry-free winter and ensure that your house is in top condition upon your return. Humming Homes is here to manage the winterization process for you and to ensure that your house is ready for vacancy. Leave the property management to us.