Winterization Tips for Vacation Homes Near Ocean City, NJ
Your vacation home or rental property may be closed up for the season. But, just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean it should be out of mid. Without a good winterization strategy, you’re risking hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage when you come back in the spring.
No Heat and Frozen Pipes
Most of the problems come from not turning on the heater, and not shutting off the water main. When you do this, you run the risk of pipes freezing when it’s cold out.
This problem can happen anywhere. But, many shore homes are especially vulnerable. Most have crawl spaces, where pipes are more exposed to cold air. And, hoses and outdoor showers mean more water pipes out in the elements.
Anyway, once the water freezes in the pipes, you need to turn off the water and thaw the water quickly. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time until the ice blockage causes a rupture in the pipes.
Then, all the water behind the blockage escapes through the hole in the pipe.
Imagine, then, dozens of gallons of water pouring into your house every hour. And, if you’re not there for months, your home could end up like this:
A Broadley’s tech snapped that photo a few years ago in Ocean City. Water from a burst pipe filled the house, broke a window, seeped out and froze. The damage was so bad they had to tear down the house.
Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening to your home.
Prevent a Winter Disaster at Your Shore Home
In this post, we’ll give you our five-step checklist to winterizing your Jersey shore vacation home or rental property. You can do some or all of it yourself. Or, you can have us at Broadley’s take care of everything for you.
And, you can rely on us to help you out for the months you’re not around. We’ve been a trusted HVAC and plumbing company in Ocean City, Avalon, Mamora and other Jersey shore towns for nearly a century.
Most of our clients leave an extra set of keys with us. That way, we can close the property at the end of summer, open it in the spring, and head over to handle any problems if they come up.
It saves people time and money: They don’t have to drive down with the keys while there’s damage in the house that’s getting worse. And, they’ve got peace of mind all year long.
Let’s look at that checklist, and then explore some extra steps you can take.
Winterization checklist for vacation homes
These five winterization steps are essential for your Jersey shore vacation home to be secure for the months you’re not there:
- Water shut off
- Disconnect hoses
- Add antifreeze to plumbing
- Install hose bib covers
- Blow out drain lines
The first step is shutting off the water to your home. This way, there’s no water to freeze in the pipes in case they freeze. It also prevents flooding in case there’s a leak or rupture in a pipe, hose or appliance somewhere.
You’ll likely spot a problem like this when you’re there. But, even a small leak can become a huge problem if it goes one for weeks or even months.
Blow out drain lines
Along with making sure there’s no water coming into the house, you want to remove any water that’s already there.
The same problems could come up: Frozen pipes or a leak can result in gallons of water spilling into your home.
With a blow-out, we drain any remaining water in the lines, so there’s none left in your system.
Add antifreeze to plumbing fixtures
The final step in protecting your pipes is adding non-toxic antifreeze to sinks, dishwashers, showers, toilets, and drains.
The antifreeze prevents the pipes and porcelain from freezing and cracking over the winter. Even after we’ve blown out the drain lines, there’s still moisture in them.
The antifreeze we use is non-toxic, and it washes away once you turn the water back on.
Moving outdoors, make sure your hoses are disconnected. The problem here is the same: You don’t want any water or extra moisture anywhere in the house.
Once you take off the hose, any water in the line will drip out. That’s water that can’t freeze and cause a rupture later on.
And, doing this protects the house itself. You’ll prevent cracks or excess wear and tear when you pack it away for the winter.
Install hose bib covers
The last step toward getting your plumbing ready for the winter is installing a hose bib cover. We already talked about clearing out that line when you remove the house.
A bib cover goes over the opening. It keeps the line warm and dry through the cold weather. The same goes for any other outdoor faucets or fixtures.
Use a Wi-Fi Thermostat Keeps Your Home Safe in the Winter
Now that your home is ready for winter, you want to make sure everything stays the way it should. And, if you’re not there, you need a way to monitor things. That’s where a wi-fi thermostat comes in.
These newer devices do much more than regulate the temperature in your house. In this case, we’ll focus on how you can link it to your smartphone, laptop, and tablet.
This way, you can get updates and make adjustments no matter where you are. It’s especially useful if there’s a sudden cold snap or warm spell, and you need to change the temperature.
But, the more significant advantage here is that it alerts you if something goes wrong.
A broken window or furnace problem causes a sudden change in temperature or spike in energy usage. When this happens, the thermostat sends you an alert. And, if you’re already set up with Broadley’s, we can swing by and check out the property right away.
Heater Tune-ups for the Winter
Getting a heater tune-up for the winter is important for every home, whether it’s where you live year-round or not.
With a tune-up, we look over your heating system for any problems. We clean it out, lubricate all the moving parts, and replace any worn or broken components.
You greatly reduce the risk of a breakdown once your heater is working its hardest. And, your energy bills will be lower when the unit’s working more efficiently.
For a shore home, it’s also much more peace of mind when you’re miles away. Once your home is winterized and your heater’s tuned up and connected to a wi-fi thermostat, everything’s set till next spring.
And, if you do get an alert that something’s up, give Broadley’s a call! We’ll get over there right away and fix any problems.