View Full Version : Snow bird, closing up for the summer months

04-27-2012, 04:51 PM
Having purchased my home earlier this year, I have never been faced with the responsibility of closing the house for the summer months. Does anyone know of a punchlist associated with preparing the house before leaving? I am also curious about what is necessary for storing an electric golf cart.

George Bieniaszek
04-27-2012, 05:29 PM
Hi Moose!! I am basically a snowbird too and your main concern will be to prevent mold from getting ahold inside your house. We set our AC unit for 80 degrees and let it run to keep the humidity low the first time we closed up out CYV for a couple of months. When we returned, we had a Humidistat installed. Munn's is who we used, but any AC business could do it for you. I think that the total install cost us under $100. You will see a savings very quickly from your AC unit coming on when the humidity exceeds 60% VS keeping an empty home at 80 degrees.

I also turn the water off in the home, just in case. You probably have 2 water supplies, potable and non-potable, so turning the house water off will not affect your lawn watering.

As far as your electric cart, we have one too, I make sure that the batteries are filled correctly with distilled water and charge them up overnight to capacity.

Because of the lightning storms in Florida, I also unplug the TV's, golf cart charger, and other expensive things just to prevent a power surge or lightning strike.

That's about it. Tell your neighbors that you are leaving, when you may be back and a phone number or e-mail address in case they need to get in touch.

That's all that I do!!

Bogie Shooter
04-27-2012, 06:15 PM
This is from the Home Owners Associationm, Villages Voice May 2011.

Maintenance Tips from Home Warranty
By Dennis Stradinger

Maintenance Tips for Home Warranty Manager Dennis Stradinger

With Easter behind us and Florida Summer temperatures ahead of us many of us are looking forward to going up north for the summer or at least an extended vacation away from Florida’s friendliest Hometown. There are many things to keep in mind to help keep your home safe and help reduce your expenses in an unoccupied home. Anytime you leave your home for a period of time the following things should be taken into consideration.

Shut off the main water line to your home, but leave your irrigation system on. While your grass will still need water while you are out of town, shutting off water to your home may prevent any serious damage from an unattended leak.

Turn your gas water heater setting to vacation or for electric water heaters turn off the circuit breaker to your hot water heater, as well as your oven/range, washer and dryer. Unplug small appliances like television sets and radios. Appliances and small electronics will use small amounts of electricity even when not in use. This should help reduce your utility bills.

Set your thermostat to 82° during cooling season. It is important that you run your HVAC system during this period. Your system removes the humidity from your home and this helps keep your homes air quality safe and protects items in the home from being affected by the excess humidity.

Discard any open food containers and clean out any perishables from your refrigerator or freezer. There is nothing worse than returning to a home that may have lost power due to a storm or other reason and dealing with lost items in the refrigerator.

Arrange for complete lawn and landscape care by a reliable lawn maintenance contractor.

Go to the Community Watch office located at 3130 Glenview Road to notify them of the dates you will be leaving and returning. Their phone number is 753-0550. Discuss with them options available to Village homeowners or visit their website at VCDD Community Watch (http://www.districtgov.org/departments/Community-Watch/community-watch.aspx)

Develop a “buddy system” with a neighbor or friend, and have them inspect your home and lawn periodically, or hire a business that specializes in this. Ask them to check a few basic things during their inspection: Are the doors locked and windows secure? Do they see any insect or ant infiltration? Is the freezer/refrigerator operating? Is the heat or air conditioning working? Run the water in sinks and showers so traps do not dry up and expose the home to sewer gas smells. The Villages Hometown Property Management can be reached at 750-1595 if you would like to review their Empty Nest Program.

Remember if you need help with finding qualified contractors to help with any construction related issues, please feel free to contact The Villages Warranty office at 753-6222, or contact us through an e-mail request accessible on www.thevillages.net home page. We are always happy to provide this type of information to our homeowners.

04-27-2012, 06:33 PM
Thanks for posting the article. I have one question though. First, the article says to shut off the water to the house. Then, it says to have someone come over and run the water so the traps will not dry out. Has anyone had any problems with leaving the water off for 8 or 9 months ? I also heard that you should empty all the water in the toilets, then someone else said leave the water in and have someone flush them once a month so that the seals dont dry out. Whose right ? Anyone have experience with this ? Thanks

04-27-2012, 06:33 PM
This is from the Home Owners Association, Villages Voice May 2011......... Run the water in sinks and showers so traps do not dry up and expose the home to sewer gas smells. ........

..........and keep water in the toilet bowls as well for the same reason.

Here's an arguable point: Some people feel that, due to their type of construction, golf cart tires can have a tendency to 'flat spot' if the cart sits in one place for long periods of time. A couple of different ways to address this:

- Have a neighbor/friend/home watch person periodically take your cart out for a ride, long enough to get the tires 'warm' (ie. not just around the block).

- Put the cart up on 4 jack stands so the tires are off the ground.

Or, if you're on the other side of the coin with your perspective, don't do anything - just let things be! :D

If you think a 'lived in look' gives you a better feeling that your home will be secure, buy a timer or two for a couple of interior lights......perhaps timers that can slightly vary the on-and-off times so that they're not so predictable every day. Along the same line, have a neighbor/friend/home watch person pick up any materials left in your driveway, on your front door step, etc.

Bill :)

04-27-2012, 07:03 PM
I went thru Munn's to get my humidstat. I was going to get the $175.00 humidistat (bottom of the line) but when the tech told me about the $400.00 humidistat I went with that. IT'S MORE EFFICENT than the cheaper model. I have it set on 60 for humidity & 85 for the air. Heat does damage to furniture & last year my buddy who has a Gardenia had one installed & his elect. bill when he was gone for the summer was $35-$45 per month (he also has a solar attic fan).
Do your self A FAVOR, have Munn's explain to U the difference.

04-27-2012, 07:21 PM
We also:

1. turn off the hot water heater by flipping the breaker in the fuse box to off.

2. raise the temp in the fridge and freezer to the limits that our whirpool will let us program.

3. program the ice maker to off.

4. lock the auto garage door openers (a button switch on front of the wall unit); one could also unplug the unit and use the manual locks/brackets on the doors.

04-27-2012, 07:29 PM
We also move the ice to the lowest bin and bag it, because if the power goes off for whatever reason, it melts and will be all over the floor. We've had the problems in hurricanes. Not fun! We also have generated a check list for leaving even if only for a week. It only takes a few minutes. Also, you may want to put saran wrap over the toilets as it helps with water evaporation. If the water evaporates, you'll get sewer bugs and odors in the house. Those are just a couple things we do. Even if we're gone for a few weeks.

04-27-2012, 08:19 PM
I shut the breakers off on the hotwater tank washer dryer and clean out the fridge leave the doors open and up plug it. Set air to 80 and heat to 50. My homewatch person takes care of the rest

04-27-2012, 08:32 PM
With the lightning strikes that occur here, don't forget to unplug the microwave. Microwaves often don't survive power surges.

04-27-2012, 09:33 PM
We've always used a Housewatch Company to visit once a week. Priceless! They will drive and charge your cart, flush toilets and add bleach, spray for weeds, inform you if your sprinkler heads need replacing, provide you with a detailed list for close-up, etc, etc. If we're in a hurry and forget to do something (e.g., turn on all fans at low speed), they check and make sure the checklist has been done. A home is a huge investment and a Housewatch Company provides peace of mind.

Also, we've saved hundreds of dollars with our humidistat, and Fireboy installed it himself.

04-27-2012, 09:52 PM
Just to let you know, The VILLAGE SITTER is a home watch service here in The Villages. We keep an eye on your most expensive asset while you are away. We are a husband and wife team, Village of St. James residents, insured and bonded. We do weekly checks for such things as mold, bug infestation, windows and doors, pick up any literature left at your front door, etc... We also do a monthly service which consist of turning on your main water supply and flushing/cleaning your toilets, running your dishwasher and wash machine on a rinse cycle, garbage disposal, etc.. to keep gaskets lubricated. We have a series of checks we go through each week and if there are any noticeable potential issues, we will snap a photo and either text or email you the picture asap. We will also run your golf cart or car at your request. Our fee is reasonable for basic service, $40.00 per month. We do basically the same as the Village's Empty Nest program but for approx. $60.00 less per month. You can view our website at The Village Sitter - Welcome (http://www.thevillagesitter.weebly.com) or give us a call at 352.633.5063.
Can't wait to see you all back come October and wishing all our northern neighbors a safe trip home and wonderful summer.

04-27-2012, 11:28 PM
Get some plastic baggies and fill them with ice and seal 'em up. Place them on your drains, especially the shower and tub. This will prevent any bugs from getting in to your house. Definitely put plastic wrap on the toilets.

Unplug all electronics. Be sure that the cable is not connected to the wall -- lightning loves to travel on cable lines (whether for a dish or cable).

Since your home will be unoccupied for more than 4 months, unplug your fridge and prop the doors open (dish towel works real well). Leave closet and pantry doors open. Unplugging your microwave is not necessary but a good idea. Besides locking the garage door, unplug the openers so that they don't get fried if you have a lightning strike.

If possible, have a neighbor check your home once in awhile (turn on water, flush toilets, run dishwasher on rinse cycle). If you're not going to have your cart on jacks, ask neighbor to drive it around the block once in awhile.

One caveat: Check your insurance policy. If it has words to the effect that you must show due diligence or care in maintaining your home while unoccupied, hire someone to watch your home. If something happens (water leak, mold), your company will more than likely deny coverage because the house was unoccupied for more than 30 days and not being watched.

04-28-2012, 08:25 AM
Thanks to all who provided information on closing up the house. It's great to live in a community with such helpful people. Leaving soon, but will be back in Oct. Thanks again.

06-10-2012, 05:21 PM
Charge the golf cart and then unplug the charger from the wall outlet.
Unplug all TV's/Radios/Computer/Small appliances
Set Thermostat to 82
Open the Circuit breaker for the Water heater
Close window blinds
You can turn off the refrigerator and leave the door open
Turn off the water inputs to the Washing Machine
Ask the Lord to watch your home until your safe return

06-10-2012, 06:25 PM
Proper approach for your electric golf cart depends on the make and model. Read the manual or talk to the dealer since some models are best left plugged into the smart charger and some are not.

Another good ideas is to not post on a public forum that you will be away.

09-18-2012, 02:57 PM
I have lived in Florida as a snowbird for 14 years.
Here is a list of things you should do. Shut off the water. You may shut off the refigerator, and leave the doors open a little. If you choose to leave it on, remove anything that may spoil and fill the refigerator with a lot of containers of water so it will run as little as posible. Shut of the ice maker.
As for the toilets put about a half of cup of bleach in the tolets and cover with foil or glad wrap. Do not put bleach in the tank.
Set the humistat and temperature as instructed by the service man or written instructions. Follow these instruction and don't listen to anyone about how to set them because theirs may be differant. If you don't have a humistat have one installed for it will save you a lot of money on elec. bills and ware on the equipment. On the hot water tank, it's best to shut it off, electric or gas. If you choose to leave the gas one on set it on vacation or the lowest setting. As for the garage door, the control buttons on the wall , push the lock button to off.
Unplug all the electric equipment such as TVs, cable boxes, DVDs, radios, etc.
Have someone check you house while your away. Remember to tell the person if you have a humistat, that it may get very warm in your house regardless what the temperture is set at.