How to Prepare Your Home for a Winter Vacation
We are firm believers that there’s no place like home. Usually. But when home is Maryland in the dead of winter, well, it gets us wishing we were someplace warmer. We’re thinking somewhere more sand-covered beaches than snow-covered streets. And we’re not alone. Just like our state bird, the Baltimore oriole, many Maryland snowbirds fly south for winter. But before you take off, some important work must be done to protect the nest while you’re away, even for just a short vacation. Here’s what you need to know.
Thanks to the advances in smart technology, it’s easier than ever to make a home appear to be occupied, even when a homeowner is hundreds of miles away. There’s no longer a need for timers, now that you can control lights, televisions, and other appliances from the convenience of a smartphone. Just set an alarm on your phone to remind you to turn them on and off, but be sure to change up the pattern. Lights coming on and going off like clockwork is a telltale sign to thieves that nobody’s home.
Another handy gadget, smart thermostats allow homeowners to monitor and adjust home temperatures while on the go. There won’t be any need to worry about an approaching arctic blast since you can turn up the heat with a simple swipe. Smart security systems let you keep an eye on the place from afar and detectors will notify you of smoke or carbon monoxide spikes.
Find a Friend
It’s great to be able to monitor your home from a phone, but it never hurts to have an on-site inspection. Ask a friend or neighbor to watch over your property while you’re away. They can pick up packages left by the porch and check the area for leaks and other damage. If you’re using smart devices, ask them to reset your internet connection after power outages.
You don’t want your neighbor to have to trek through the snow to reach your house, so be sure to schedule a snow removal service. It’s also a good way to keep up appearances of an active home. We also recommend leaving your HVAC service’s phone number in case of an emergency. But a little pre-planning, like having furnaces inspected and fuel tanks refilled, should make for a worry-free winter.
Secure or Store
Make sure decks, patios, and porches are cleared of potential projectiles. If left unsecured, lawn furniture, benches, and other outdoor accessories could be damaged, or cause harm to windows or doors, if blown around by the wind. If possible, store these items in a shed or garage, or at the very least tie them to the ground with ropes and stakes and cover with a tarp. Have dead and low-hanging branches trimmed before you leave, and repair any loose fence posts or rails, as they also are at risk of being picked up by a gusty wind.
Homeowners don’t always consider their fences before leaving on vacation, but loose posts can do a lot of damage if they’re not secure in the ground. Maryland gets its share of strong winds, especially around the Chesapeake Bay, so make a fence safety check a priority before you go. And if you encounter a problem, there’s no need to delay or cancel your vacation. Just give Excel Fencing & Decking a call. Our skilled construction professionals can quickly take care of all your fence repair needs.