Outer Banks Heating & Cooling Blog

Prepping Your Home for the Off-Season

Brian McDonald - Tue, Oct 11, 2016 @ 02:21 PM

It's hard to believe it, but summer has officially come to an end and fall is here! With the colder weather approaching and everyone returning to school and work, if you haven't done so already, now is the time to make sure that your vacation home is closed up for the cooler months ahead. Before you close up your vacation home for the winter, you'll want to make sure that you prepare your home for the colder months ahead. These are just a few of the things that you should keep in mind:

Turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. One of the best ways to prevent plumbing issues over the colder months is to stop water flow throughout your home. Doing so will help to prevent leaks and may also help to prevent water from freezing in your pipes during the colder weather. In addition to shutting off the water at the main shut-off valve, make sure that you also drain any standing water from pipes by running faucets and flushing toilets.

Add an anti-freeze solution.  Use a good quality RV anti-freeze solution and add it to your toilet tank and bowl, and pour some down each sink and the washing machine drain to help keep the drain traps from freezing.

Turn the thermostat to about 50 degrees. Make sure that you set your thermostat to 50° or higher. Turning your HVAC system off can result in your home dropping to dangerously low temperatures, which can cause any water still in your pipes to freeze and then burst, causing costly damage and repairs. Since you won't be around your vacation home, it's especially important to make sure that your thermostat is set to a reasonable temperature to prevent this from happening.

Upgrade your thermostat to a “Wi-Fi” model. You’ll be able to monitor the temperature inside your home from anywhere in the world using a smart phone, tablet or computer. These controls can be set to send you an e-mail if the temperature in your home drops too low. Plus, you may be able to prevent major damage to your heating system by knowing there’s a problem before the system runs for months trying to heat an unoccupied home.

Set your gas water heater to 'Vacation Mode' or turn off the power to your electric water heater. Vacation Mode is a setting on your gas water heater that enables you to reduce energy consumption, while keeping your water heater functioning in order to help prevent water in the tank from freezing. Setting your gas water heater to vacation mode will also help to reduce corrosion and build-up of minerals, and keep your water heater running more efficiently when it's needed. Turn the power off to your electric water heater and drain the tank to prevent the water from freezing if we have a power outage for a sustained period. Make sure you refill the tank with water before turning the power back on to it; or you will damage the heating elements in the tank.

Unplug smaller electrical items. Make sure that you unplug all of the appliances in your home that do not need to be running during the off season. This includes things like lamps, televisions, toasters, etc. This will help you to save energy, and in turn money, and this also will help to protect your home from an appliance shorting out and starting a fire or a surge of energy ruining your appliances.

Perform Preventative Maintenance. Now is the perfect time to have your HVAC system examined, especially after a hot summer like we had. Make sure that everything is working properly and any necessary repairs are made to your system now, rather than waiting to open your home back up only to discover that there is a problem.

Take Security Measures. You want to ensure that your home looks lived in, even if no one will be around for months. Make sure that you have a plan for any storms and set a few lights to turn on and off automatically to help deter any prowlers. Make sure that your home is locked up and if you have one, make sure your security system has been enabled and tested.

We hope that you had a great summer season and look forward to serving you as things cool down. Now that the hectic summer season is over, give us a call at (800) 722-3094 or visit our website to schedule your system's annual maintenance.

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald has been in the HVAC industry since 1985. He holds NC HVAC Contractor's License #12643 and Refrigeration Contractor's License #3196. He also maintains NATE Certification #7330548 for installation and service of AC and heat pump systems as well as BPI Certification #5025287 for Building Analyst Professional, Building Envelope Professional and Heating Professional.

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