The first snowfall of the season has arrived in the Omaha metro. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s the perfect time to be thinking about winterizing your home, especially if you take off for warmer climates during the winter months. 

Here’s what you need to do to winterize and secure your home before leaving for the winter.

Don’t Leave it a Ghost Town

If you’re going to be gone for extended periods of time, you don’t want to publicize this information by making your home look deserted. It’s also a good idea not to announce it on social media. Let close friends, family, or neighbors know of your absence, and have someone lined up to clear snow from your driveway and walkways, and to collect any items left at your door. It’s a good idea to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on the place. Additionally, installing motion-activated lights and timed lights can help deter any unwanted visitors. If you have a home security system, make sure you arm it when you leave.

Take Care of the Plumbing

Check with a professional about if it’s safe to turn off the water while you’re away. Drain your pipes, flush your toilet, and then pour antifreeze rated for plumbing systems in your toilet tanks. Shut off the water to washing machines, refrigerator ice systems and dishwashers, and drain them per the manufacturer’s instructions. Finally, turn off the heat source and water supply to hot water heaters. 

If you decide to leave the water on, ensure your home is kept warm at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Further, open room and cabinet doors where pipes are located to help circulate warm air. 

Perform Maintenance Before You Leave

Before ditching town, have your heating system inspected. Also have your roof inspected and gutters cleaned to help prevent ice buildup. And unplug all unnecessary appliances.

Keep Critters Away

Unless you want to come home to some uninvited guests, make sure you clean your home thoroughly to deter any critters from entering. Clean, defrost, and unplug refrigerators and freezers. Inspect your home for any openings where animals could enter and secure them. Inspect weather stripping, insulation, and exterior doors and windows. And close your fireplace flue. You want your home to be buttoned up tight.

Prepare for Emergencies

Although no one wants to think of the worst-case scenario happening to their home while they’re away, it’s best to be proactive. Consider installing smart thermostats and smoke detectors in your home that can send you notifications to your smartphone. You can also consider installing a smart home security system that sends alerts to your smartphone. If your home is in a coastal or wind-exposed area, install storm shutters to secure windows. Finally, you can consider notifying your local police that the property will be vacant for a period of time, and provide them with emergency contact numbers. 

If you’re someone who loves leaving the bitter weather and freezing temperatures behind for the winter months, just make sure your home is prepared and secure to welcome you back when you return.