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The Founders Club Blog

How to Winterize Your Home Before Heading South

The leaves are falling and the beach is calling. Yep, it’s time to start your trek back to the Sunshine State for a winter without the need to shovel snow or wear long johns. However, before you skip town in search of warmer temperatures, make sure you protect your home from the same teeth-chattering reasons you’re trying to get away by following some helpful tips from The Founders Club’s preferred Sarasota homebuilder, London Bay Homes.

For the Exterior of Your Luxury Homes

  • Find a friend or relative to shovel snow off your walkway and driveway, or if you really like your friends and relatives, just hire someone to do it for you. This will make your home look like there is someone still in it.

  • Remove dead trees or large, overhanging limbs. Debris equals projectile.

  • Bring outside furniture, grills, and garbage cans into your garage or storage shed. I repeat, debris equals projectile.

  • Prevent ice dams by cleaning out your gutters so water can flow out freely and not back into your home.

  • Add extensions to downspouts so water can flow freely away from your home. Extensions should lead the water 3-4 feet away from your home.

  • Have your roof inspected for missing or damaged shingles that may cause the roof to leak in your absence. It is also a good idea to have your chimney inspected and make sure you have a wire screen over the top of your chimney to prevent small animals from enjoying a new home for the winter.

  • Turn off the exterior faucets, disconnect your hose, and then drain the water from your hose so it will not freeze. This includes your irrigation system.

  • Caulk around the edges of your windows and doors to ensure there won’t be any heat escaping. The gaps on your windows and doors should not exceed the width of a nickel. Any bigger than that and you’ll lose heat.

  • Remember those leaves that have already started to fall? Make good use of them by mowing over the dry leaves and allowing them to sit on top of your grass. This “mulch” will nourish your lawn over the winter months.

  • Stow your mower on an empty gas tank or fill the gas tank with stabilized fuel that can withstand sitting in the tank all winter. Regular gas left in the tank will get old and will give you problems once you try to start it in the spring.

  • Consider installing motion-detector lights on the exterior of your home.

For the Interior of Your Luxury Homes

  • Whether you’re heating your home during your absence or not, water may still freeze in your pipes, so turn off the main water valve and have a professional drain your pipes before you go. The last thing you want is to have the pipes burst due to the expansion of the ice. You may also want to add non-toxic antifreeze to your toilet tanks and bowls to prevent freeze damage.

  • Have your furnace or heat pump inspected to make sure it is clean and in good working order. You may not care if the house is a little colder while you’re gone, but you don’t want to have to deal with the long list of homeowners that end up calling these companies upon their return because their heater went caput while they were gone.

  • Have your home inspected for any air leaks or insufficient insulation in your attic so ice dams won’t form and cause water to back up in your home.

  • Have your home thoroughly cleaned before you leave. This includes washing all of your sheets and towels. You’ll need to wash them upon your return, but it’s much more sanitary to leave them fresh and only allow them to collect dust during the winter.

  • Toss out all of the food and garbage. We know we do not want to come home to food or garbage that has been sitting for months, and we are rather sure you don’t either.

  • Schedule for someone to tend to your plants while you are gone or give them away before you leave.

  • Cover your furniture to protect it from light and dust.

  • Set your thermostat to anywhere between 55 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave your furnace running to prevent pipes from bursting and make sure you have monitoring systems in place that will alert you if the furnace malfunctions.

  • Reverse your ceiling fans so they go clockwise and push down the heat that naturally rises.

Following Through With Your Day to Day Routines

  • Forward your mail and stop newspaper delivery.

  • Stop your garbage service.

  • Temporarily discontinue phone, internet, and cable services. You may have the option of forwarding your calls to your vacation home in the south or your cell phone.

  • Turn on your alarm system and set interior lights on timers to make it appear as though someone is home. Let your alarm service provider know you will be away and for how long.

  • Install dead bolt locks for your doors and slide locks for your sliding glass doors and French doors.

  • Stow your valuables in a safe deposit box or another secure location.

  • Designate a family member or friend to be the emergency contact to all of your vendors and provide them with access to your home should something happen in your absence.

  • Pay your bills before you leave and consider setting them up on auto-pay so you don’t miss any payments.

  • Bring copies of your important documents and medical records. Also make sure to transfer your prescriptions to the pharmacy you will be using in Southwest Florida.

  • Consider shipping your personal belonging to eliminate the hassle of bringing everything yourself.

There is a lot to remember when prepping your home for the winter so our recommendation is that you print out this list to ensure everything is completed. The last thing you want is to come home to a disaster that could have been avoided by one simple step. That brings us to one more tip: Make sure you call your home watch company to ask them to prepare your home in Sarasota, FL for your arrival. London Bay Homes’ Home Watch and Estate Management department will take care of all of your home watch needs while you are away and will also make sure to have your Founders Club home ready when you get here.

Contact us for more information on how London Bay Homes takes care of the Founders Club homes belonging to our snowbird friends. If you’re still looking for a semi-permanent or permanent residence in sunny Sarasota, FL, feel free to set up your private tour of The Founders Club or download our brochure to learn more.

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