Property Damage Prevention Tips for Snowbirds

Prevent Fire, Mold and Water DamageIt’s almost Easter weekend, which means many “snowbirds” will soon be making the trip back to their homes in cooler climates. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, a “snowbird” is someone from the U.S. Northeast or Midwest, Pacific Northwest, or Canada who spends a large portion of the winter season in warmer climates, like Florida. Ideally, as they are preparing to leave their properties, snowbirds will take some recommended steps to prevent fire, mold and water damage in their absence.

An important part of preparing to leave is readying condos, townhouses, or homes for many months of vacancy. Sadly, fire, mold and water disasters are common in the property owner’s absence. Even the best prepared properties sometimes experience an unforeseen event, and a neighbor, house sitter, or the owner themselves discover a property damage problem, sometimes of great proportion, if the problem goes unchecked for some time.

The following are some tips from Joe Taylor Restoration to help snowbirds prepare their properties in Florida for their return to homes further north:

  • Set the Air Conditioning at 75 – 80 ̊. DO NOT turn the air conditioning off. This will reduce electric bills and prevent mold build-up on walls and carpets. In older homes with humidistats, change the setting to read 60, which will pull the humidity out of the air and protect against mold and mildew.
  • Turn the Water Off. Using the emergency cut-off valve outside the home, shut the water off at the source. Then, turn on the sink and bathtub valves until no water comes out and all air pressure is released from within the pipes.
  • Drain & Unplug the Hot Water Heater. Drain and unplug the hot water heater or flip the circuit-breaker to cut power from it.
  • Unplug Electrical Devices & Personal Computers. Unplug personal computers, lamps, televisions, stereos, toasters and any other electrical devices. If there is a modem connecting to the computer, remove the phone jack from the wall.
  • Leave the Refrigerator On. Do not unplug the refrigerator or freezer, and do not leave perishable food items stored inside.
  • Open the Dishwasher and Washing Machine Doors. Leave the dishwasher and washing machine doors propped open to prevent mold growth from residual moisture.
  • Upgrade Supply Lines. Reduce the chance of a supply line breaking by replacing plastic/rubber with stainless steel.
  • Close the Flue. If there is a fireplace, close the flue to stop humidity from getting in and air conditioning from getting out.
  • Prepare for a Possible Hurricane Before Leaving. Find out from any necessary associations if hurricane preparations can be made, like putting up shutters, before leaving.

The above tips are not guaranteed to prevent fire, mold and/or water damage to a property in the owner’s absence. We suggest that snowbirds give a trusted friend or neighbor a key, any security alarm information, and a number where they can be reached just in case there is an unexpected property damage event while they are away.

Whether you are a snowbird or a full-time Florida resident, contact Joe Taylor Restoration immediately if you find yourself in need of fire, mold, water or biohazard restoration services. We will see to it that your home or home away from home is restored to the tropical retreat you know and love.