Snowbird Tips

Many of the residents here in Southwest Florida travel back north during the summer months for a retreat from paradise. If you are going to be a part time resident, or if you’re going to vacate your home for a significant period of time, you'll want to prepare your home for your absence. We have broken this list down into "stick built" homes and manufactured homes. If you complete the list below, you won't have to work so hard when you return in the fall. You may choose to perform additional items not included on this list, but these are basic items that should help to keep your house in good condition while you’re away.

Single Family Homes:

·         Unplug all electrical items, except lights on timers. If you unplug the  refrigerator, prop the door open.

·         Turn the water off to your home. Do NOT leave the water faucets on.

·         Put a clean filter in your air conditioner and set the temperature to 82-  85 degrees Fahrenheit.

·         Set your Humidistat (a highly recommend installation) to 60-63%.

·         Set out small containers of charcoal or cat litter in each room to absorb moisture and odors.

·         Turn off the water heater. Remember to fill your water heater before turning it on when you return if you choose to drain it.

·         Check your plumbing system for leaks. Look for wet areas or water stains in your kitchen, bathroom and laundry area.

·         Weatherstrip and caulk windows and doors as needed.

·         Clean leaves and debris out of your gutter system.

·         Check the timer and operation of your lawn irrigation system and adjust if necessary.

·         Check the tension on your pool cage anchor cables.

·         Trim any tree limbs or branches that hang near the house or roof.

·         If you have hurricane shutters, install them or make arrangements with a local company to install them prior to the approach of a hurricane or tropical storm.

·        Cover your toilets with cling wrap, close all drain stoppers and block shower and tub drains to prevent evaporation at the traps.  This is especially important when using a humidistat on the HVAC system.

Additional Items for Manufactured Homes:

·         Inspect your metal roof. Have a professional re-coat seams or the entire roof, if necessary.

·         Tighten any accessible cable style tie-downs until taut. If any tie downs are broken or significantly rusted, contact a licensed contractor for replacement.

·         Fold or raise any awnings

It's also important to prepare your home so would-be burglars don't figure out it's unoccupied
. Contact the local police or Sheriff’s office for a crime prevention brochure, or crime prevention tips.

Home watch services are both readily available and desirable. These services monitor your home at the time interval of your choice (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) for problems with your home, including checking that the pool and lawn service personnel are performing their duties. The better home watch services send you a written report or checklist after each visit and some include photographs.

Quality Home Inspections, Blaine T. Wiley