It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Whether you’re traveling for the holidays or are taking a vacation this winter, it’s a great time of the year to travel. However, there’s a lot to coordinate before you take that vacation: making accommodations for the pets, packing for the entire family, cleaning out the refrigerator, and so much more.
Homeowners have even more things to check off their pre-vacation checklist. No matter how big or small your home is, leaving it unattended during the winter months can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Keep reading to learn how to prep your home for your winter travels so it can be better protected while you’re away.
Lower Your Thermostat
Lowering the thermostat may sound odd considering you’ll be leaving your home when the weather is freezing, but bumping it down just a few degrees is ideal. According to The Department of Energy, setting the thermostat at 68° during the winter while you’re home will keep your home warm while saving you some money on your energy bill. When you’re away, lower your thermostat by 7-10 degrees, but don’t set it lower than 55°.
Keeping the thermostat lower when you’re away will prevent it from unnecessarily running while the home isn’t occupied and will prevent the pipes from freezing. The last thing you want to come home to after a fantastic vacation is frozen pipes. Remember to never turn your thermostat off when you leave your home in the winter – lowering it by a few degrees can save you money while keeping your pipes safe.
Drain Your Pipes
If you’re going on an extended vacation this winter, you’ll want to take an additional step to prevent your pipes from freezing. In addition to lowering your thermostat, drain your pipes. Draining them will remove all water from the pipes, ensuring they don’t freeze in frigid temperatures when you’re away from your home.
To drain your pipes, turn off the water main. Next, turn on every faucet in your home including the outdoor spigots to fully drain them. When you’re done, turn the faucets off. Removing all water from your pipes will protect them from freezing which is a common issue in the winter months. Unless you’ll have guests staying in your home while you’re away, you should always plan to drain your pipes for extended winter vacations.
Don’t Let Your Home Appear Empty
Another step you can take to prep your home for travel is to prevent it from looking empty. Burglars can easily spot an empty home. The last thing you need is to come back from vacation to a ransacked home. Luckily, you can make your home appear occupied when you’re away on vacation.
To keep your home from looking empty, set timers on your interior lights. They can be purchased from nearly every home improvement store and are easy to operate. With interior light timers, you can program them to have the lights switch on at dusk and switch off at sunrise. There are also smart light timers that are compatible with smartphones so you can easily program them from your phone while you’re away on vacation. Whichever type of interior light timer you choose, timing them to turn the lights on in a few rooms while you’re away can make it look like you never left, deterring burglars.
There are some additional measures you can take to further make your home appear occupied while you’re away. If you plan to receive mail, packages, or paper when you’re away, ask a neighbor you trust or a friend who lives nearby to collect all parcels and newspapers from your mailbox and doorstep. When mail and packages pile up outside it’s a good indicator someone isn’t home, and this can attract burglars.
You can also have a neighbor wheel out your trashcan on trash day, maintain a driveway presence by leaving a parked car in the driveway, ask a neighbor to shovel in the event of snow, etc. All of these safety measures can protect your home while you’re away.
Just like you clean the interior of your home before you leave for vacation, you should clean your half-round gutters before you go. If you haven’t cleaned them and removed debris, like leaves and twigs that have settled in the gutters during the fall months, you’re at risk of your gutter system developing ice dams in the event of winter weather while you’re away (or home).
Ice dams are a common nuisance for homeowners across the Heartland and they can occur on nearly every half-round gutter system. They form when heat produced from inside a house melts the accumulated snow on a roof. As a result, the meltwater has nowhere to drain so it’s constantly refreezing and melting, resulting in ice dams. Clogged gutters prevent meltwater from moving through the gutters and downspouts, making it easier for ice dams to form. Cleaning your half-round gutters can help prevent ice dams from forming while you’re away in the winter.
We have such unpredictable weather here in the Heartland, so it’s hard to plan for ice dams while you’re away on vacation or for an extended period. Keep in mind that snow, freezing rain, and frigid temperatures can occur at any time in the winter months, so it’s best to be prepared.
Traveling is exciting and sometimes the steps above get forgotten about while packing and planning for a vacation. It’s crucial, however, that you follow the steps above to keep your home safe while you’re away.
While cleaning your gutters can help prevent ice dams, nothing protects your home like the K-Guard Leaf Free Gutter System. Our gutter product can withstand all winter weather conditions including freezing rain and snow and it can help prevent ice buildup on roofs. What’s more, our patented hood allows debris like leaves and twigs, meltwater, snow, and ice to simply slide off of the gutter system rather than accumulating or entering the gutters, resulting in clogs. When you install the K-Guard Gutter System, you’ll never have to worry about cleaning them again, especially before a winter vacation!
To learn more about the K-Guard Leaf Free Gutter System, call (913) 380-1616 or request your free estimate online today. We proudly offer our gutter installation service to homeowners across both Missouri and Kansas including, but not limited to, the following locations: Kansas City, Overland Park, Topeka, Olathe, Shawnee, Independence, Lenexa, and Lee’s Summit.
Happy winter travels!