Every summer I look forward to moving to my home at the beach in New Jersey.
I love this house. I love the summer. We are not “on the beach” but we’re still close enough to walk to it. But as much as we love the house and the summer and the beach, things aren’t always simple. After my husband and I make the nearly two-hour drive to our summer home, there’s always work to do.
Sometimes that work can include standard cleaning and repairs, but other times there are bigger headaches. For example, I spent eight weeks this summer trying to get our Samsung freezer repaired, a job that was only completed after contacting the president of Samsung U.S.
We also were disappointed by 2 different contractors whom we contacted – one to build an outdoor shower, and a tree specialist to check on a gorgeous tree in front of our property that looked diseased. We contacted them, and then never heard from them again. It made us long for the days when service people took pride in their work, showed up and did the job.
With all this in mind, we thought we’d reach out to other vacation rental property owners with some tips for preparing their summer homes for the winter. By taking care of small home care issues, you’ll have more time to deal with any unforeseen issues before the rental season begins.
Travelers Insurance offers these tips for winterizing a vacation home:
- Make sure the home seems occupied
You’ll want to deter thieves or break-ins while your property is unoccupied, and one way to do that is by installing an alarm system and storing valuables off-site. But you should also secure your vacation home by making it seem occupied.
Place motion-detector lights on the outside of the home and lamps on timers on the inside. If they come on at different times of day, it will deter prowlers. Have someone come by to collect flyers or any other items that get left on the front door. If your rental property is in an area that gets snow in the winter, hire someone to shovel your sidewalk after storms.
- Avoiding water damage
You may want to consider turning off the water supply to the property and draining your pipes if no one will be using the home for a length of time. If the home is heated by an older steam-heating system, talk with a heating professional to see if it’s safe to cut off the water supply for your heating system.
If you decide against draining your pipes, keep your furnace running – at 55 F or higher – to make sure the pipes don’t freeze.
- Perform routine maintenance before winter arrives
Hire a professional to inspect your heating system before winter, and have someone to check on the system during the winter. Have your roof inspected, make sure your gutters are clean to prevent ice from building up, and remove dead trees or large limbs that could damage your property.
- Chase away pests
Give the home a thorough cleaning before winter comes to prevent pests from moving in while the property is empty. Don’t forget the kitchen in your vacation rental property: Clean, defrost and unplug refrigerators, leaving the doors open to prevent mildew from forming.
Inspect your home to look for openings animals could use to enter. If you have a fireplace, make sure the flue is closed to prevent squirrels, birds and bats from getting indoors. You may also want to have the chimney cleaned to clear away obstructions such as birds’ nests.
Part of readying your vacation property for a new season is giving it a new look. If that’s the case, InnStyle can help. We’ve spent decades honing our personal service, whether our clients need linens, bath accessories, mattresses or other amenities to make their properties feel like home.
Our staff are all professionals and care about pleasing their customers. And isn’t that how it is supposed to be?