Top Tips To Help You Protect Your Home
As they say on Game of Thrones, ‘Winter is coming’. And with it comes the urge to take a vacation down south. Whether you’re gone for a week, a month or 6 months, as a home-owner you need to take some steps to protect your home while your are having fun in the sun. Here are 3 levels of protection:
Basic Home Protection
This advice applies to winter AND summer months. Make sure that your home gives the appearance of being occupied. In the winter, have someone shovel the walk and driveway. Maybe even offer your driveway to a neighbour who needs an extra parking spot. Have someone collect the mail, (and junk-mail), and cancel newspaper deliveries. (In the summer months, have someone cut the grass, water the lawn and shrubs.)
Put lights inside the home on a timer, and think about installing motion-detector exterior lights which come one whenever someone approaches the house.
These are very basic steps, and may NOT be sufficient for protecting your property when you leave on a winter vacation. Of course, I’m talking about protecting the house from the bitterly cold temperatures. Which brings us to the 2nd level of protection:
Gold-Level Home Protection in the Winter
Service the Furnace Lets start with your heat source: make sure to have your furnace inspected before you leave. Remember the winter when temperatures in Winnipeg were compared to those on Mars? (And Mars came out ahead!). One of my neighbours furnace went out one night and by the time someone checked on the house, it was cold enough to see your breath. Of course, furnace repair companies are inundated with calls, and it took 2 days to get someone to come out and replace a part on the furnace. In the meantime, neighbours gathered space heaters, turned on the fireplace and stove and did everything they could do to prevent the pipes from freezing. Thank goodness for neighbours!
Have someone check the property The real danger is that of pipes freezing, bursting and flooding the home, from inside the walls. The issue can then become even worse, if the homeowner learns that he has not done everything he was required to do. It’s important to check with your insurance company to see what steps you need to take to protect your home. At the very least, they will demand that you have someone physically check the inside of the property at minimum time intervals. Some insurance companies demand that someone checks the home every single day.
Install a Wi-Fi Thermostat One thing the home-owner can do is install a Wi-Fi thermostat. With this, the owner can see the temperature in their home from anywhere in the world, so long as they have an internet connection. The downside is that you must maintain internet service in your house, so when you are gone for 6 months, that will be an added expense. But the peace of mind it offers may well be worth the added cost. Note that this step may NOT be enough to replace the previous step of having someone check the property. Again, always check with your insurance.
Drain the pipes If you are gone for several months, simply draining the water out of all the pipes, and shutting off the water supply can prevent major damage if the house temperatures did drop below freezing. Remember to leave some water in the toilets to prevent sewer gases from backing up into the house. This means that the person who comes to check on the home will have to bring a bucket, once a month or so, to fill the toilets, sink and shower traps with some water. Again, a little cumbersome but just added insurance.
The Ultimate Way to Protect Your Home
Some alarm companies, such as ADT Alarms, offer systems and monitoring that include all the potential perils including low temperature sensors, sump pump water levels, smoke and fire detection, etc. Aside from letting your neighbours off the hook from having to constantly check on your home, your insurance company will most likely also offer a decent discount off your premiums. Plus, by following this code, the home owner will receive 20% off the alarm system and installation.
Disclaimer: I would normally receive remuneration for making this referral, however I have selected to redirect any and all money to the charity of D’Arcy’s Animal Rescue in Winnipeg.
Home Protection Tips: New Technology For Home Security
One of the topmost priorities homes have is their household’s security. Updates and upgrades should be done periodically to make sure that you are not using yesterday’s security measures. Criminals are getting smarter and protective techniques should become more intelligent too. Here are some new technology that you should consider incorporating within your own home: More info via Winnipeg’s Real Estate Blog