With winter almost upon us, it's time to start thinking about winterizing your property. If you have a lake house or a vacation house, don't overlook it. It's even more important to pay attention to winterizing if you're not going to be using the house over the winter. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents for getting your lake house ready for cold weather.
- Clean Your Gutters
The exterior of the house is what gets hit with winter weather the most, and your gutters are more crucial than you may realize. Clogged gutters will prevent water from draining properly off your roof. Roof shingles and siding are designed to keep water flowing away from your house, but if your gutters are clogged with debris, water can get in underneath the shingles and siding and cause damage. Cleaning your gutters of fallen leaves and other debris before you leave the lake house for the last time this fall can prevent any damage from happening in your absence over the winter.
- Check the Roof for Damage
While you're up there to clean the gutters, be sure to give the roof a once-over. Look for damaged or missing shingles. Also, keep an eye on the trim and siding for signs of leaks that have already started. Any soft or rotten wood should be replaced now before winter kicks in.
- Disable Your Sprinkler System
If your lake house has a sprinkler system in the yard or garden, be sure to have it blown out to clear all the water from the lines before winter sets in. Leaving water in the lines can cause frozen and burst pipes, which will leak once they thaw again. The result could be disastrous and expensive, especially if the leak goes unnoticed for a while due to the house being empty.
- Seal Around Windows and Doors
Whether you plan to use your lake house in the winter or not, it's a good idea to check for and eliminate drafts. Check around all your window and door frames for cracks or drafts. If you can see daylight through any gaps, the space needs to be sealed. Gaps between the door or window and the frame can be sealed with weatherstripping. If there are cracks between the wall and frame, seal those with caulking.
- Check Pipes and Insulation
Before shutting the house up for the season, or even if you plan to use the lake house in the winter, be sure to make a thorough check of all your pipes. Check to make sure you have no leaks, either in visible plumbing or detected from moisture damage to the walls, ceiling, or floor. Especially if you plan to leave the house shut up for the season, the last thing you want is to come back to a flooded mess in the spring. Also, be sure to check any exterior pipes to ensure they've been insulated properly so that they won't freeze over the winter.
- Set the Thermostat for Winter
If you leave the furnace running in the winter to prevent the pipes in your lake house from freezing and bursting while there is no one there, you will probably want to set the thermostat to the lowest possible temperature. No sense in using more energy than needed to heat an empty house! To keep an eye on your home's heat while you're away, consider getting a smart thermostat where you can have the temperature available on an app. This can help give your peace of mind while you are away from your lake house.
- Tidy Up
Before leaving your lake house for the season, be sure to clean everything and tidy up the yard one more time. Not only will a clean house be nicer to come back to in the spring, but you may also save yourself some trouble by doing these tasks now. For instance, be sure to remove any stains from the carpet before you leave so that they don't set over the winter and become harder to clean in the spring. Also, be sure to rake up all the fallen leaves in your yard and mow the lawn one more time if needed. Leaving debris covering the grass over the winter can damage your lawn.
It's important to winterize your property properly so that it remains a relaxing retreat to return to when the weather warms up. Ready to sell your lake house, trade up, or simply looking for something new? Contact us today, and we'll help you find the perfect home away from home.