While there is still great weather ahead, start making plans to close up your home at the shore and make some energy-saving improvements at the same time. Here’s a suggested list of things to take care of before you leave, so that your beautiful home will be ready to welcome you back next year.
While it is obviously not necessary to keep the house warm enough for occupants, don’t turn the temperature so low that you risk frozen pipes. The recommended interior temperature for an empty house is between 50 and 60 degrees.
Unplugging appliances, lamps, and other electricity eaters helps save energy, as even items not turned on still draw some power. This also gives an extra level of protection against fires that can occur from a faulty switch or another issue. One important tip is if you unplug the refrigerator be sure to remove everything inside – which leads us to:
Do a thorough cleaning of the house, especially in the kitchen. Perishable foods should be removed and any food that can be stored should be in airtight containers. Make sure all food particles and debris are out of the house to avoid having critters as unwelcome house guests. After cleaning leave doors throughout the house open, including closets, to help with air circulation. You can even consider leaving dresser drawers open as well.
Any outdoor furniture, tools, toys, and even decor items should be brought inside. Smaller objects can be lifted by the wind and damage a home’s exterior, or simply be lost forever when they sail away. If items such as large furniture cannot be brought in, secure the items so the wind cannot move them, and then cover them with securely fastened tarps to protect them from future weather.
Have all the gutters cleaned and the roof inspected. Any roof issues, even if they seem small like a loose shingle or damaged flashing, should be addressed and repaired before you leave for the season. Wind can lift loose shingles which then creates a larger problem and potentially more damage while the house is empty.
An empty home is a magnet for intruders, so make your home look occupied. First, be sure any regular deliveries are rerouted, and mail is either forwarded or held at the post office. Then set up timers to turn lights on and off at realistic times both inside and out. Something else to consider is window treatments. While it may seem best to close them to conserve energy, if all window treatments are down the house will look empty. An alternative is to have solar window film installed. This will block out UV rays that fade flooring and furnishings, help maintain an even temperature in the home, and allow you to keep window treatments open.
You may want to consider some technology to help keep an eye on your home, especially if you do not have a home security system. Items like motion-sensor lights, smart locks, and video cameras can help. Smart locks also allow you to let people into your home without sharing keys, like service technicians or someone who can check on the property for you.