Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Winterizing Your Vacation Home

Fall temperatures showed up at the Lake of the Ozarks this week! Not only have they come roaring in, but they aren’t showing any signs of leaving, either. Temperatures will be dipping into the 30’s this week, and before you know it, winter will be here. If you have a vacation home at the Lake of the Ozarks and you haven’t winterized it yet, now is the time. Here are a few things to consider as you get your vacation home ready for winter.

Make Your Home Look Occupied All Season

When you won’t be staying in your home for a while, you can do a few things to make it look occupied - even when it isn’t. First, you need to have mail forwarded if you receive anything at your vacation address. If you won’t be available to come down and clear away snow after it storms, hire a local business to clean off the sidewalks and driveway. Finally, make sure that the motion-sensitive lights are working, and install a timer for interior lights. You’ll want to set them at varying times to discourage prowlers.

Secure Your Home

We love the lake area because it’s generally a safe place to live. That doesn’t change the fact that you should take some precautions, especially when you won’t be staying in your Lake of the Ozark vacation home. Double check the alarm system and make sure it’s activated before you leave. Secure the external doors and all windows with locks and place a security device in sliding doors. It’s not likely that you’ll be storing valuables in your home, but if you do leave expensive items behind (television, exercise equipment, artwork, etc), try to make sure they can’t be seen through the windows or doors.

Winterize Your Pipes

This can be a huge concern for anyone leaving their vacation home for any period of time. If a pipe bursts during the off-season, you’ll want to have a plan in place to find out about it as soon as possible. Of course, completely turning off the water supply to your home is the best option. Drain your pipes of all water by opening the faucets, and flushing the toilets after you turn off the water to your home. You may want to consider pouring antifreeze in the toilet tanks and bowls to prevent any remaining water from freezing and cracking. If you have any questions about this step, it is worth it to schedule an appointment with a plumber to help confirm that the task is accomplished properly. They can blow compressed air through the pipes as well to make sure they are completely empty.

Routine Maintenance Before You Leave

Performing a few routine tasks before you shut the house up for the season can ensure that when you come back, things will be just as good as when you left. Have your heating system inspected and serviced before winter, and make sure you schedule your fuel tanks to be filled. If you leave the electric on at your home while you’re gone, consider having an electrical contractor inspect your main electrical panel, wiring, and outlets. It would be better to have defective items replaced now than to find out what happens if you don’t.

Have your roof inspected before you leave, and make sure that your gutters are cleaned to help prevent ice buildup. Take a look at the trees around your home, and if there are large trees surrounding your home, take a look at the branches and make sure that none of them hang over your home. If they do, you’ll want to have them removed. Finally, unplug all unnecessary appliances before you leave. 

Protect from Pests 

When you won’t be in your home regularly to guard against pests, you’ll want to make necessary adjustments to keep them away while you’re gone. Either hire a crew to come in and clean your home thoroughly or take on the project yourself. You don’t want any unwelcome “residents” coming in during the winter. Clean, defrost, and unplug the refrigerator and freezer, and wipe them dry. Leave the doors propped open to prevent mildew. You’ll also want to clean out the oven. Look around your home for openings that an animal may use to enter your home, like the fireplace flue. If you have a fireplace, you’ll want to have a professional come out and inspect the chimney. It may need to be cleaned out before, as well as have a guard added to prevent any pests entering.

Prepare for Emergencies 

Did you know that you can notify the police department that your property will be vacant? Give them your emergency notification numbers so that they know who to contact if something happens. Install smoke detectors on every floor at the least, and confirm that the sensors are tested. Do you have trusted friends or neighbors who will be staying in the area over the winter? Check in and see if they would be available to look in on your home while you’re gone. If you don’t have someone you could ask, you can hire a property management company to do this.  

Your Lake of the Ozarks Home

We enjoy helping people buy vacation homes at the Lake of the Ozarks! This area is beautiful no matter the season, and we would be honored to help you and your family finance a second home at the Lake of the Ozarks. Visit our website to learn more about our Lake of the Ozark mortgage company, or give us a call at the number below. We can’t wait to help your vacation dreams become reality!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Senior Loan Officer
NMLS #: 493712

4655 B Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065

Direct: (573) 746-7211

**The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent First State Bank of St Charles’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

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