Welcome Back, Snowbirds!
Winter is coming to a close, and if you're a Snowbird, soon you'll be heading back to your second home up north if you haven't already. Getting everything prepared and organized for the move is sometimes tedious and difficult. However, creating a checklist for what you need to do will certainly make the process go a lot smoother. Here are some important things to remember as you head back and de-winterize your home!
Leaving the warmer weather home:
Before you leave, remember to forward your mail. It's important that you still receive any outstanding bills you may have, such as medical bills. You can do this without even leaving your house! All you need to do is visit www.USPS.com and click the "Track & Manage" tab. The United States Postal Service (USPS) can forward your mail for up to one year. For flyers or anything else that comes to your door, ask a neighbor or friend to occasionally check your home for anything that accumulates on your doorstep or in your mailbox.
Also you'll want to turn off the water and perform any necessary indoor/outdoor maintenance in the last few days you're there. It will help keep your home in tip-top shape while you're gone. You may also want to consider unplugging big appliances, like your refrigerator, to help cut down on energy costs.
Arriving back home:
When you arrive back to your northern home, the first thing you should do is check the exterior of the house. Look to see if there are any broken windows and if any of your items were moved or disturbed. This is also a good time to inspect your roof to make sure there aren't any shingles missing.
If all is well outside, it's time to inspect your home's plumbing system. First, turn off the shut-off valves on things like sinks and toilets. Doing this will allow you to test each one individually after you turn on the water. This will also decrease the chances of a mess if you find more than one leak. If you aren't comfortable doing this or don't think it will work because of the age of your home, skip this step and carefully check for leaks after you turn on the main water supply.
Next, it's time to turn on your main water supply. This part will be go a lot smoother if you have extra people helping you! Slowly turn back on your water, and then go to all of your showers and sinks one at a time to turn them on. It's a good idea to let the water run for several minutes at each fixture. This will balance out the pressure in the pipes as you look for leaks. Be sure to check under sinks and around your water heater, listening closely for dripping and hissing noises. Contact your local plumber to check the system if you discover a leak.
The next thing you'll want to check is the toilets. Believe it or not, they can leak from the seals between the tank and the bowl. Open the valve of the toilet and let the toilet tank fill completely. Once the tank is full, flush it several times to make sure it's working properly.
After these inspections, your plumbing should be ready for everyday use! Once you get settled in, be sure to let your neighbors and friends know you're back in the neighborhood! It's a good idea to keep your neighbors in the loop, especially if they were picking up mail or keeping an eye on your house.