There are a few key considerations to keep in mind to ensure your property remains in good condition during the colder months, especially if it's vacant. Here, we’ll share our winter maintenance insights from years of experience in the field.

First and foremost, it's crucial not to turn off the heating system before you vacate. Water freezes at 32°F (0°C), so we advise maintaining the temperature above 60°F. In our inspections, we’ve often encountered homes with heat turned off or set too low. This can lead to pipe freezes, especially during nighttime temperature dips into the 20s, leading to costly repairs and leaks when temperatures rise once again.

Another important step is disconnecting hoses from exterior faucets, including frost-free hose bibs. Leaving hoses connected can cause damage during freezes. For homes without frost-free hose bibs, it's wise to shut off valves from inside the basement. Additionally, winterizing the plumbing system by draining water and adding antifreeze to drains is an option, but this can present challenges during showings or inspections, as buyers typically want to test water flow and pressure. It's essential for the plumbing system to be fully operational before any home inspection.

Besides the potential for damage, a cold, vacant home isn't appealing to potential buyers. It's important to create a welcoming atmosphere. Maintaining a reasonable temperature not only minimizes damage, but also saves on heating costs. Preparing for winter also includes servicing the heating system. Annual professional maintenance ensures efficiency and safety, and having service records available can reassure potential buyers. WIN Home Inspection offers an annual Healthy Home Check, where you can receive a pointed checklist on major systems and applicances in need of repair. Additionally, receive a complimentary Infared (IR) Scan with our package options, and identify potential fire starters via electrical hotspots or mold damage through cold points.

For homes with window A/C units, we advise removing and storing them before winter as they often don't seal windows effectively, leading to drafts. To enhance security during shorter winter days, consider using timers for lights and regularly checking the property. Clearing driveways and ensuring newspapers or mail don’t pile up can deter burglars and signal the home is cared for and watched.

A little preparation and attention to these details can make a significant difference in protecting a vacant home during winter, making it more appealing to potential buyers and preventing unnecessary damage and costs in the long run.