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BellaOnline's Home Improvement Editor


Winterize Your Vacation Property

Guest Author - Dale Y the Maintenance Guy

Yep, folks, even with these longer and warmer fall days that we have, eventually winter will spread itís frosty whiteness over the northern latitudes in the US and the world. And for those of us that have vacation homes, trailers or other types of recreational buildings or abodes, here are some great tips for the wise to winterize.

The first thing you will want to do is drain any water system that you have. Which means, after shutting down your water supply, open up all water valves and let the pressure out. This even goes for hot water heaters and fresh water holding tanks.

Now I know, some of this trapped water is difficult to get rid of, especially in sink traps and toilet bowls. Well, you can go through the trouble of unfastening the pipes or plunging the toilet, but here is an easier way. Get some anti-freeze, and any kind will work, but remember that this will get drained into a septic system, so a natural anti-freeze will work the best and what I personally recommend.

With your best guesstimate, pour a healthy dose into your toilet, both tank and bowl, trying to get a 50% mixture between anti-freeze and water. This will virtually guarantee that none of that trapped water will freeze, and this works just as good in sink drain traps as well, or anywhere else that you might find some trapped water. Holding tanks also come to mind too.

Dishwashers should be disconnected and allowed to drain freely, as well as clothes washer hoses as well. Pour a little anti-freeze into your washer basin, because there will be trapped water inside that wonít drain fully.

Food in cabinets attract animals, so it should really all be removed. To that end, the best mouse repellent I have ever heard of are moth balls. Sprinkling a few moth balls in closets and basements, some on your counters and under cabinets, and you will be mouse free come next spring! A good days airing when you return in the spring, will get rid of all the leftover mothball scent, and you will be good to go for the whole year.

Chimney covers are a great idea, and if you donít have one, get one! Raccoons, birds and bats love chimneys, and they will forever be in your debt if you provide a nice home for them by not using a cover. Of course, you will have to deal with the absolute mess they will make, and if a coon gets inside your vacation home, it will look as if your place has been ransacked. So, if at all possible, get a cover.

Turn off your main electrical breaker, unplug all of your appliances, and if you have a furnace, turn off any gas valve or breaker that is connected to it.

So there you have a good little checklist of tips to winterize your vacation home. With the coming and going of Labor Day, which is considered the end of the summer vacation period, this is the perfect time to think about what to do about winterizing your place. Not only will each of these tips save you all kinds of headaches for next spring, but they will also give you something else more importantly than anything else, and that is a little peace of mind.
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