# Your Home

10 Tips to Winterizing Your Home While You Travel

Going on vacation? Avoid the potential headaches by adequately preparing your home for the winter.

With the winter holidays fast approaching, our Home Managers have summarized their top 10 tips to ensure your home is kept safe while you enjoy your holiday vacation.

Protect Your Home from Break-Ins

The best safeguard for your home is an alarm system; however, the next best thing is to ensure your home looks lived-in. Follow these tips, to avoid the winter blues with unwanted guests or issues.

  • Turn on the Light: Programmable digital timers can be set and connected to your existing lighting and lamps to be turned off and on automatically.
  • Hold the Mail: Avoid a cluttered mailbox by pausing your newspaper or magazine subscriptions while you are away (here are links for The Globe and Mail and The Star). Ask your neighbours to collect your mail or try using Canada Post's Hold My Mail service.
  • Snow Removal: Arrange for someone to shovel the driveways and walkways; a snowed-in exterior is a clear sign that no one is home.
  • Extra Security: Outdoor video cameras and motion activated floodlights also add in an extra layer of security and deter potential unwanted guests.

Save Your Home from Potential Hazards

The best offence is a great defence. Take precautionary measures by safeguarding your home against potential safety hazards that could go awry while you’re away.

  • Unplug and Relax: Take fire prevention measures by unplugging any unnecessary electrical equipment, like toasters, hairdryers.
  • Keep the Heat: Never turn off the heat; this can lead to frozen pipes. Instead, leave the heat running by programming your thermostat to a lower temperature. For those extra cold days, ask a friend or family member to visit your home and turn on and off the faucets to let the water run. Doing this small step will ensure the pipes won't freeze.
  • Water Main Shut Off: Shutting off the water main will give you peace of mind that any undetected leaks won't turn into major headaches. It also limits damage to your home if the pipes do freeze. For the tech-savvy, water leak detection devices can be installed; these alert the homeowner via a smartphone app and automatically shut the water off.
  • Sump Pump Check: Test your sump pump to prevent flooding from melting snow and rain showers.
  • Empty the Trash: Minimize the risk of pests and rodents by emptying the trash, recycle and compost. Check entry points such as fireplace flues, exhaust pipes, dryer and exhaust vent flaps are closed or guarded, and weather stripping insulation is free from cracks and holes.

Check Your Home Insurance Policy

Many insurance policies have clauses that will void claims if your property is left unoccupied and unattended for extended periods. Reach out to your insurance company and find out what your coverage is.

To mitigate potential risks, always arrange for a friend, family member or neighbour to check up on your home while you're away.

If you need a helping hand while you prepare for your vacation or when you’re away, we are here for you.

  • As a service, we offer vacation monitoring to collect your mail, shovel your snow, check on the heating, etc.
  • Our Home Managers are happy to come to your home to do a pre-vacation check, such as testing smoke detectors and the sump pump, checking weather-stripping insulation, showing you how to shut off the water main, etc.
  • We can help install security cameras, floodlights, and water leak detection devices.

If this is something you’d be interested in learning more about, please do hesitate to reach out to us via the Setter app.

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