Know your home is safe while you’re away this winter

Do you love hot temperatures and sunshine? It’s unlikely that you are going to be happy spending the winter season in Ontario. Winter in southern Ontario will last on average between five and half to six months.

If you have vacation booked for warmer climates, you will need to prepare your home in advance of your travels. Thinking of all potential eventualities can be overwhelming but will benefit your home during your extended absence!

Here are a few important maintenance and preventative actions for travelling homeowners.

Help your home to look occupied.

If you have a friend, neighbors, or relative who lives nearby, ask them to keep an eye on your home. You should ask someone to collect your mail and newspapers or have them forwarded in your absence.

Make sure that you book someone to remove snow from walkways. Municipal by-laws in Ontario require that you clear snow and ice from sidewalks within a certain time frame after the snow event. This timing varies by location – check with your local city website to find out the situation for your area.

If you have a home alarm system or timed lights, these are valuable devices for your home’s safety. Smart home security systems and thermostats can let you monitor your home remotely from a smartphone app.

Do not post about your vacation on social media. This can alert potential thieves to the fact that your home is sitting empty.

Perform maintenance and prepare your home systems.

Your heating system should be inspected before your trip. Your annual furnace tune-up should happen before extended travel. Perform a visual inspection of the furnace pilot light, air filters, and thermostat settings before you go.

Set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Open room and cabinet doors where pipes are located to help keep them warm. Most homeowners set their thermostat five to ten degrees lower than normal while they are on vacation.

Your water heater should also be set to ‘vacation mode’. The vacation setting will reduce the impact of a leak in your pipes. A professional can guide you through turning off your water and draining your pipes if you will be gone for extended periods of time.

Tidy and clean your home.

There should be a minimum three-foot clearance around your indoor air handling unit. Ensure that you clear items away from your HVAC system. This will allow good air movement and reduce potential fire risks.

Do a visual inspection of your home for possible points of entry for pests. Close your fireplace flue and inspect insulation, exterior doors and windows, and any weather-stripping for gaps or disrepair.

Unplug all non-essential devices so that they are not consuming standby energy from pilot lights or phantom energy.

Taking out garbage, recycling, and compost before your trip is a small task. Your nose will thank you when you return to a fresh-smelling home!


Call us here at Applewood Air if you have questions about your complete home comfort! We can be reached toll-free at 1-800-487-7307.

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