drdiy

Closing Your House For The Season

In Winter Tips For Your Home on October 18, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Closing Your House For The Season

There are many things you need to do if you’re leaving a cottage or your house for all or part of the season.

You have to decide if you want to leave the heat on while you are gone. If you leave the heat on, turn it down to around 55-degrees. That will keep pipes from freezing, and save you money on heating costs. If you go back to the cottage periodically, it shouldn’t take long to get the indoor air up to a comfortable level.

Regardless, even with the heat on, I would still turn off the water at the meter or pump. That way if the heat fails or the power goes off, the pipes could still freeze and burst, but damage would be minimal.

If you decide to turn off the heat you must winterize all the plumbing. That means turning off the water and completely draining the system. Draining the pipes is done by turning off the water and opening every single faucet in the house.

Next, using a wrench, remove the water meter or open the drain line where well water enters the house. Turn off the gas or electricity to your water heater and connect a garden hose to the spigot near the bottom of the tank and let all that water out as well.

Flush the toilets to get most of the water out of the toilet tank. You will need one to two gallons of RV anti-freeze, which is available at camping outfitters, sporting goods stores and just about wherever camping equipment is sold.

Pour one cup of the anti-freeze down every sink, basin, tub and shower drain. Also pour a couple of cups of anti-freeze into the toilet as well as the toilet tank.

Your dishwasher has a pump, which is holding water that could also freeze. Manufacturers do not recommend adding anti-freeze. They usually suggest that you disconnect the drain line and let the water drain into a small bucket.

There are a lot of other steps you need to do to close a house for the season. Here is my checklist:

Exterior:
•    Cut back overhanging tree limbs.
•    Clean the gutters.
•    Make sure the chimney cap or screening is on top of the chimney and secure.
•    Close crawl space vents.
•    Put on storm windows.
•    Lock the shed or garage doors.
•    Bring in or store all outdoor furniture.
•    Thoroughly clean and store barbeque grills and garbage cans.
•    Winterize all boats and motors.
•    Lock up and store boats, lawn equipment, bikes, canoes, etc.
•    Fill boat motors, lawnmowers, etc. with fresh gas and Sta-bil to keep the gas from going bad.
•    Have a professional blow out and drain sprinkler systems.
Interior:
•    Unplug all appliances and electronics.
•    Turn off circuit breakers except to an alarm circuit, some lighting, sump pump and furnace.
•    Make a list of all valuables and record serial numbers on appliances and electronics. Store that list at another location.
•    Take photos of everything and store at a second location.
•    Remove all food from the kitchen cupboards including cans and jars that could freeze and burst.
•    If you have plants in the house, move them to a friend or neighbors house.
•    Remove all food from the refrigerator, unplug the refrigerator, clean it, wipe the interior down with bleach and prop open the doors.
•    Put timers on a few lamps and radios around the house to go on and off at different times.
•    Make sure the fireplace damper is closed.
•    Clean or replace the furnace filter.
•    Pour one cup of mineral oil into the bottom of your dishwasher to keep the rubber seal from drying out and cracking.
•    Unplug coffee makers, irons, etc.
•    Do all laundry.
•    Clean the house.
•    Dispose of all garbage.
•    Close and lock all windows and doors.

Miscellaneous:
•    Put telephone service on ‘vacation’ unless it is needed for the house alarm.
•    Contact the police department to let them know when you will return and leave a phone number with them where you can be reached.
•    Make sure a neighbor or friend has a key and a phone number in order to reach you in case of an emergency.
•    Stop or forward mail and package delivery, but make sure bills are still being paid.
•    Stop newspaper deliveries.
•    Arrange for the drive and walk to be shoveled to give your house a lived-in look.
•    Ask a neighbor to park or drive on your driveway occasionally.
•    Disconnect the garage door opener and make sure the overhead door is locked.
•    Turn off your cable service.
•    Close and lock all windows and doors.

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