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Home Preparation Tips for Snowbirds

Cummins is sponsoring this look at how to prepare your home before a vacation.

No, I’m not worrying about my house.

Have you recently joined the ranks of boomer travelers who are snowbirds? Leaving the snow and cold behind to spend half the year in the Arizona desert or on a Florida beach has appeal, doesn’t it? No more shoveling snow!

Or perhaps you’ve signed up for that cruise around the world. Four to six months at sea visiting exotic destinations sounds like the boomer adventure of a lifetime to me. Where do I sign up?

Along with the joy and excitement of a warm winter or world cruise adventure comes the apprehension of leaving your house for an extended period of time. After all, it’s not quite as simple as locking the front door and driving away.

I recently wrote about preparing your home for a vacation. And while those 17 tips are important to follow, leaving your home for months at a time requires special attention.

Perform or schedule a home maintenance check

 Taking care of a roof leak or major equipment failure is hard to do from a long distance. And who wants to fly back to assess damage or work with contractors? Avoid these hassles by taking these preparation steps a couple of months before heading south for the winter:

  • Schedule a service call to inspect and service your home’s heating system.
  • Check the roof for leaks and schedule a repair if any leaks are found.
  • Clean the gutters so ice doesn’t accumulate, causing water damage inside your home.
  • Locate the main water cutoff valve to your house. Make sure it’s working properly and is easy to operate. You’ll need to shut off the water on the day of your departure.

Keep pests out

 No visitors allowed while you’re enjoying a warm winter on the land or at sea! This especially means pests, so make sure all access points have been closed to them:

  • Check weather stripping around doors and windows.
  • If dryer vents are located close to the ground, make sure they are screened off.
  • Schedule a chimney sweeping that also checks the status of chimney guard screen caps. Make sure the technician shuts the flue, or do it yourself.
  • Place scented dryer sheets around vehicles left in the garage to keep rodents from chewing on wiring. And the leave the hood up.

Secure your home

Besides a major water leak, keeping your home secure is one of the biggest worries for snowbirds. Tasks like newspaper and mail holds are a given, but have you thought about these?

  • Install a motion detector security light outside of your home.
  • Check that smoke alarm batteries are fresh. And if your smoke alarm is older, install new alarms that have 10-year battery guarantees.
  • Have your home alarm system serviced.
  • Ensure window and door locks are working correctly. Have you installed security-type hinges and deadbolts on the doors? Are slide locks installed on French doors and sliding glass doors?

And a few extras

While you can’t pick up everything in your home to bring with you, important papers such as pertinent medical records should come along. One option is to scan them to your computer or to the cloud, but bring physical copies of prescriptions (medicines and eyeglasses) because you just never know.

The best way to make sure your home stays up-and-running while you are gone is to prepare for the worst and have peace of mind by installing a Cummins QuietConnect home standby generator. Whether you’re home, at your home away from home or out to sea, a home standby generator turns on the moment your power goes out, keeping appliances, equipment, smart home and security systems working.

As a boomer, I want a carefree life with as few hassles as possible. That means not worrying about my home while I’m traveling. By following these home preparation tips, I can do just that. So can you.

Disclosure: Cummins has sponsored this look at home preparation tips. 

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14 home preparation tips for snowbirds.

 

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