Before You Shut The Front Door: Prepping Your Home for Snowbird Travel

Even the most experienced RVers worry about their homes while they’re away. From the threat of a break-in to a failed heating system causing the pipes to freeze, the range of things that can go wrong at home are enough to keep folks up at night. Did you remember to lock the sliding doors?

With a little preparation, and a dose of prevention, none of these fears should keep you from embarking on your much-anticipated snowbird travels. No worries.

Pictured above Canyon Vista RV Resort in Gold Canyon, a popular snowbird roost in Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pictured above Canyon Vista RV Resort in Gold Canyon, a popular snowbird roost in Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Set Thermostat

When leaving your house during cold weather, set the thermostat for 50 degrees. This keeps the house well above freezing and prevents the pipes from freezing and bursting. Frozen pipes are one nightmare you can avoid.

It’s also important to have your furnace inspected and serviced. If your home is on oil heat, have the tanks filled. If your system has a filter, change the filter.

Turn Water Off

Turn off the main water line into your house before departure. Many home owners have experienced a plumbing leak at one time or another. These unfortunate events seem to happen without warning and can quickly become a destructive and expensive situation.

Water leaks while folks are away are one of the most common and costly damage claims for insurance companies.

Turn Off Water Heater

Turn off the water heater. There is no sense in maintaining a tank of hot water for months when you’re away. Upon returning home, restart the water heater and return to desired temperature in small increments; your water heater will thank you.

If you don’t want to turn your hot water heater off, set it to “vacation mode”.

Pictured above Lake Mead RV Village near Las Vegas, a popular snowbird roost in southern Nevada. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pictured above Lake Mead RV Village near Las Vegas, a popular snowbird roost in southern Nevada. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Empty Refrigerator

As the joke goes, everything in your refrigerator will turn into a science project if left for long enough. To prevent this from happening, empty your refrigerator of all perishables, clean the inside, and leave it unplugged and defrosted with the doors ajar.

Unplug Almost Everything

A good electrical storm can knock out everything from computers to televisions to small appliances. Unplug everything that’s not related to an alarm system. Just unplug it!

Satellite TV and Internet

Satellite television subscribers may need to transfer service from their home to RV. Some Internet providers will permit service to be placed on hold for up to six months.

Leave Your House Clean

It’s always better to come home to a clean and uncluttered house. It may be the last thing you want to do in the midst of packing the RV, but you’ll thank yourself when you arrive back home.

Pictured above Bentson Palm Village south of Mission, a popular Winter Texan (snowbird) roost in the Rio Grande Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights

Pictured above Bentson Palm Village south of Mission, a popular Winter Texan (snowbird) roost in the Rio Grande Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never leave wet clothing in your dryer; they will likely mildew long before your return. While you’re at it, make sure the dishwasher is empty.

How To Leave A Car

Ideally, leave your car parked in a garage, out of the elements. In 20 years of snowbird travels our car has never failed to start upon return home. Alternately, disconnect the battery to prevent drainage. If removing the battery do not place directly on concrete as this causes a battery drain.

Make a Check List

If the above list feels a bit overwhelming, it shouldn’t. Most of these items (like turning off your house water) take seconds and will become instinctual every time you leave for an extended trip. Other items, like not hiding house keys, are just tips that you can immediately incorporate into your travel habits.

Use this article to create a check list for your personal situation. Use that list every time you leave or return from a trip to remind you what needs to be done, and then undone. Believe me, it works well.

Pictured above Lake Osprey RV Resort in Elberta, a popular snowbird roost on the Alabama Gulf Coast. © Rex Vogel, all rights

Pictured above Lake Osprey RV Resort in Elberta, a popular snowbird roost on the Alabama Gulf Coast. © Rex Vogel, all rights

The best part of the above recommendations is the peace of mind they’ll give you if you’re away from home.

Worth Pondering…

It started out a dream

A simple someday soon

But we worked hard

and made it real

This snowbird life

behind the wheel.

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