How To Protect Your Home While On Winter Vacation

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Protect Your Home

The joke goes that “Winnipeg has only 2 seasons: Winter and Road Construction”. I’d like to point out a third season: Winter Vacation Time. And that season is coming up shortly. And with it comes the need to protect your home from a variety of perils, including:
 
  • Break-Ins
  • Furnace Break Down
  • Frozen Pipes
 
Whether you’re gone for a week, a month or longer, as a home-owner you need to take some steps to protect your home.  Here are 3 levels to protect your home while on vacation:
 

Basic Home Protection

Make sure that your home gives the appearance of being occupied.
 
In the winter, have someone shovel the walk and driveway. You could even offer your driveway to a neighbour who needs an extra parking spot.  Have someone collect the mail, (junk-mail & newspapers).
 
Put lights inside the home on a timer. Consider installing motion-detector exterior lights which come one whenever someone approaches the house.
 
These are very basic steps, and may NOT be enough to protect your property when you leave on a winter vacation.  Of course, I’m talking about protecting the house from the brutal 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.  Here is why: Remember the winter when we compared temperatures in Winnipeg to those on Mars?  (And Mars came out ahead!).  
 
One of my neighbours furnace went out one night. By the time someone checked on the house, it was cold enough to see your breath.  Of course, these are also the times when furnace repair companies are at their busiest.
 
As a result it took 2 days to get someone to come out and replace a part on the furnace.  In the meantime, neighbours stepped up to save the day. They supplied space heaters and turned on the fireplace, preventing 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.  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.  
 
They will require that you have someone check the inside of the property at specified times. 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. To do this, there has to be an active internet connection. The owner will have to check on the home temperatures via an app.  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, you may consider draining the water out of all the pipes. This act can prevent major damage if the house temperatures drop below freezing.  Remember to leave some water in the toilets to prevent sewer gases from backing up into the house.  
 

The Ultimate Way to Protect Your Home

 
Smart home technology now allows the home owner to protect their home against a variety of threats. For a reasonable cost, owners can now protect against:
 
  • Intrusion
  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Freezing
  • CO poisoning
 
Best of all, new wireless systems are now available, making installation a breeze. For example, A.o.A. Fire & Safety is offering a Total Home Protection Kit, which includes:
 
  • A wireless panel
  • 2 contact points
  • Motion Sensor
  • Smoke Sensor
  • CO Sensor
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Sump_pump”>Sump Pump Flooding Sensor
 
Since this system is wireless, it is easily fitted into any home. Bonus: Mention this article and receive $200 off the regular system price of $658. Contact my friend Martin Turczynowicz at (204) 999-5081 (AoA Fire & Safety)
 
Protect your home while on vacation, and earn insurance discounts in the process.

 

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