Yep, we have winter in Florida but that isn’t when the weather problems come. Here we Summerize our Florida vacation home.
While some homes are used year round by vacationers, some are private 2nd homes, a snowbird nest or a family retreat. If your home is going to be vacant for several weeks or a few months, there are several things you can do to help prevent damage and reduce costs. Here are a few simple steps you or your property management company can take.
The gutters on your home should be checked on a regular basis. Making sure water flows away from your roof and foundation can prevent serious damage and costly repairs. You can use a ladder, gloves and water hose or small shovel to clean out any leaves, limbs, or golf balls that have settled in your gutters. Or hire a professional to do it for you. Additionally, trim all limbs or branches that will touch your home when the wind blows. This goes for shrubs too. Everything should be trimmed 3-5 inches off the house. Adding this to you quarterly maintenance can save you hundreds of dollars in avoidable repairs.
2 Close the Gaps.
Have you ever been sat on the couch watching TV and notice the sunshine coming in from under the front door? A regular task on your ‘To Do List’ should be to check windows, doors and exhaust fans for air cracks. You may be shocked at the amount of cool air that is lost from the draft created by these gaps. Do a little test, lay your hand in front of the space to feel the air flowing through. You may need to apply caulking or weather-stripping to seal the leaks. It’s easy, very affordable and a project you can complete on the weekend. When going away, pull the curtains closed, tightly secure doors and close vents. Don’t forget the attic, do you see sunlight or feel cold air when you enter the space? Get some help. The cost of the service call will be recovered quickly in savings.
3 Replace your furnace filter.
This simple task should be on your calendar all year long. When you are going to be away for an extended period of time replace the filter. Make sure the vents and drains are clear of any build up and drains are working properly. With proper filter maintenance, your air conditioning unit will serve your home more efficiently, saving you money on your electric bill and on avoidable repairs. Regular filter and unit maintenance will extend the life of the unit, again saving you money. Some filters are easy to replace. Some are up high in the ceiling or located in other hard to reach places. Have your property management company lend a hand if needed. Always be safe and ask for help when in doubt.
Whether you are leaving your home for a week or a few months, DO NOT turn the A/C off. Your home needs protection from the Florida heat and humidity. Leave your unit on and set no higher than 82 degrees. (80 degrees is even better). Check your thermostat, is it outdated, it may be costing you a lot on your electric bill. Consider an investment into a programmable thermostat. It may cost you a couple of hundred dollars but it will be efficient, regulate the temperature in your home and pays for itself in savings on your electric bill. Some units even allow you to set or change the temperature from your phone. You will want to consult your local A/C technician for this project.
5 Don’t leave me running.
If you are going away for a few days or week consider turning the water heater breaker off. This will save on costs. However, if you are leaving your home for the summer or winter, there are a few more items that you may need to consider ‘powering down’. Check your appliances, can you turn them off while away? Everything with a light draws power. Neon time displays around the house let you know that electricity is being used.
When possible, consider turning off these items:
-The refrigerator, and block the door so it stays open.
-The water heater. It is as easy to flipping the breaker
-Unplug electric clocks, and small appliances.
-Turn of the water supply to the house. Most homes have a value where the incoming water to the whole house can be turned off. If you don’t know where it is, you need to find out.
-When possible have someone check the house once a week in your absence, to make sure no surprises are waiting for you when you return.
Summerizing in Florida may be something you hadn’t thought about. Your home comes with a variety of benefits, one big one is repair prevention. By taking steps to protect your home, you save money, and the drama of surprise repairs.
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