As the mercury continues to drop, many people who live in northern climes are packing their
bags and heading south to places like Florida, Arizona, or South Alabama. Becoming a snowbird
is the way to go for active retirees, but there’s a bit of preparation that goes into this kind of life.
Your HVAC systems and plumbing aren’t flying south with you, so wrap them in some love
before you take off. Check these things off your to-do list before warming your bones in the sun
of the south or mid-west.
Install a Smart Thermostat
You don’t have to understand smart technology to make it work for you, and a smart thermostat
is a snowbird’s best friend. Digital controls connect to smartphones through an app. You can
monitor and control your home’s indoor temps no matter where you are. Traditional wisdom is to
set the thermostat at 55 degrees, but if your home is in an area where a dangerous cold snap hits,
you may want to turn it up a bit to protect the home.
Update Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
If your carbon monoxide or smoke detectors are a few years old, it may be time to replace them.
Carbon monoxide detectors expire after 5-7 years, and smoke detectors should be changed every
10 years. If you haven’t already, it’s time to invest in smart detectors. Like a smart thermostat,
these mean you can keep an eye on the safety of your home no matter how far you travel. If
you’ve handled that task recently, just make sure to replace your batteries at about the same time
you pull out your suitcases.
Turn Your Taps Off
Before locking the door behind you, make sure to turn off the main water line to release any
pressure within your plumbing pipes. Draining your pipes is also a smart idea. Do this by
opening the faucets and flushing your toilet to clear the water from the tank and bowl after
you’ve shut off the water. Using a small amount of non-toxic antifreeze rated for plumbing
systems in your toilet tanks will prevent any leftover water from freezing. A plumber can blow
compressed air through the pipes to ensure everything has been drained.
A Few Ounces of Prevention
We all know the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” but we know it
because it’s true. Keep these preventative measures in mind when you make plans to find a spot
closer to the equator:
● Trim any branches or overhanging tree limbs that might affect the roof.
● Turn off your water heater to ensure a malfunction doesn’t cause an issue.
● Check the weather stripping; it’s a deterrent to pests and water.
If you’re too busy planning for your travels to get these done, call a pro. You don’t want to have
to arrange a last minute flight because a tree branch left a hole in your roof or because
chipmunks have invaded your living room. A professional can handle these issues easily and will
likely be a lot cheaper than an airplane ticket.
Enjoy the Sunshine
With these few steps handled, you can live your best life knowing your home is safe while you