During April, May, and June, some of our friends begin to pack up their belongings and prepare for their trips back to their homes in the northern U.S. But before you hop on that plane, make sure you go through the appropriate steps to close your Southwest Florida home.
Preparing Your Home for a Florida Summer
Many things can happen when you close up and leave your home for an extended period of time. With summer in Florida comes higher temperatures, humidity, and lots and lots of rain. These often lead to mold, mildew, rust, and unpleasant odors; and those are just a few the problems you can be facing once you return in the fall. Accidents like water leaks, strong winds, and storm damage are always a danger and even a burglary is possible.
Luckily, almost all of these issues can be avoided with the right preparation and care. From simple things like cleaning out leftover foods to setting up your alarm systems and plugging in your car battery, there are a lot of seemingly simple tasks to do that can have a big impact on your home while you're away:
- Clean out your refrigerator
- Run water in all faucets for 10 minutes to flush system, then put olive oil (about one capful) in trap to seal in moisture
- Turn off the water
- Unplug the hot water heater/Turn off the breaker
- Make sure pool water supply autofill is still functioning
- Turn off the breaker for the pool heater
- Set the air conditioner at 78 degrees and the dehumidifier at 45
- Open all of the interior doors to circulate air throughout the home
- Close all of the curtains and blinds to keep the heat out
- Install surge protectors throughout your home
- Unplug all audio/visual components, including the phone and cable lines
- Unplug the garage door opener
- Clean out gutters and drainage
- Have all stucco cracks sealed and all caulking at windows and doors inspected and repaired as necessary
- Inspect grading at the perimeter of your home for improper slope (All grading should slope away from the foundation)
- Schedule pest control services
- Bring in lanai furniture
- Stop newspaper deliveries until your return
- Forward your mail to your off-season home
- Temporarily discontinue phone, internet, and cable services.
- Have someone check on your home once a week and open your garage bi-weekly to let in fresh air
Summer Preparation Tips
These are a few easy steps to ensure a happy homecoming when you return post-summer.
Clean Out Your Refrigerator
The last thing you want is a horrid smelling kitchen when you open the doors of your house in the Fall. The heat of a Florida summer combined with your A/C not running at full capacity (which we'll get to later) means it'll be hot and moist and that's a recipe for mold and mildew growth. So, before you leave, be sure to clean out any and all foods and drinks from your refrigerator and clean up any spills or residue.
Finally, before you switch off your fridge and freezer (if you choose to), clean out any ice in the ice maker to make sure no puddles form on your floor when they melt.
Turn Off the Water
Before turning off your water for good, make sure you run all faucets (showers and tubs included) to flush the system. You may also want to do a quick cleaning of your sink trap with a snake and clog remover.
Next, unplug the hot water heater or turn off the breaker to save energy while you're gone.
First, make sure the pool water supply autofill is still functioning correctly. If not, schedule a repair before leaving. Next, turn off the breaker for the pool heater, cover the pool, and put away any pool furniture sitting out.
Preparing the Inside of the Home
In order to save energy, set your air conditioner at 78 degree and dehumidifier at 45. You can turn off your A/C if you wish, but setting it up near 80 means it wont' be working very hard but will continue to filter air in and out which can help smells from developing and keeps the home fresher. Plus, when you return, it won't take as long for it to return to a comfortable temperature.
Next, open all the interior doors so air can circulate properly throughout the house. This will help keep it cool which means your A/C system will not have to do as much work. It also helps each room stay fresher and keep from building up moisture which can lead to mildew and mold. Along these lines, be sure to close all curtains and blinds to keep the direct sunlight out. This will also help keep the Florida heat out.
Preparing Your Electronics
The first step to protecting your electronics is to install surge protectors throughout your home to protect against electrical surges and outages from harming the electronics. Unplug all audio/visual components such as telephones, cable lines, etc. and unplug your electric garage door opener. You should also call to discontinue any services to your home such as internet, phone, cable, etc. for the time being.
For appliances like TVs, consoles, streaming devices, etc. you can choose to turn off completely or, if they have the feature, turn them onto a power saving mode.
Preparing the Outside of the Home
You'll want to start by cleaning out any gutters or drainage that may have debris stuck inside. Summer is the rainy season here in Florida so those will get a workout and need to be in top shape. While you're at it, look along the walls and edges of the home and check for any cracks in stucco or holes in caulking around windows or doors. If you find any, have them repaired as necessary.
Bring in any lawn of lanai furniture to protect them from the elements.
Finally, it's smart to continue to have routine pest control done even while gone. Schedule an appointment for the future to make sure you don't have any new roommates when you move back in later this year.
Sound exhausting? It doesn’t have to be. London Bay Homes’ customer service team is ready and willing to assist you in all of your home watch needs with the different levels of their Home Watch and Estate Management programs. After all, who better to look after your home while you are away than the luxury custom homebuilder that designed and constructed it?