If you have a vacation home that sits unattended for the winter months, how should you shut the place down in the fall?

One of the most common questions relates to heat.  Is it worth the cost to maintain heat in the building if no one is there?  The most common danger involved in not maintaining heat is the risk of frozen pipes, so if you choose not to heat, you must winterize, which means that you drain all of the water lines in order to prevent frozen pipes, and that you shut off the water completely to the property.

Most insurance policies will cover damage caused by freezing pipes, but there is usually a provision that requires that if the property is unoccupied (even temporarily), that you must take reasonable care to maintain heat, or that you completely drain the pipes to prevent this type of damage.  If you do not do these things, your insurance company could deny coverage to you.

Even if you winterize, it is still a good idea to keep the heat on at a very low setting.  This will ensure that air moves continuously through the building, which is important to prevent the buildup of condensation that can cause musty conditions in your home.  It will also prevent the interior from freezing, which can be destructive to the structure and foundation of a building.

If you maintain heat and choose not to winterize your home, it always makes sense to shut off the water main.  This will prevent water damage in case of a heat system failure and a freeze-up occurs.

Selective use of electricity while you are gone is smart as well.  Shut off all circuits except for the power to the heat source, and any exterior lighting that you wish to maintain.  If you have a sump pump, be sure to keep power on for that also.  Small items such as VCR’s, televisions and microwaves always use some power so it makes sense to shut those items down completely while you are gone.

For more tips from the home maintenance experts, contact On Time Group today at 204 774 1474.