Updated: Mar 28, 2022
With beautiful beaches and warm weather, it’s no wonder many desire to make Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Sunni Isles, and Miami Florida home. However, not wanting to leave family or deal with the heat of summer, many decide it is best to make this their second home. In fact, 2/3 of the population in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, or Sunni Isles are part-timers, also known as snowbirds. However, the joy of going back north is tainted with the stress of what may happen to your second home. This stress is rightfully placed if you choose to leave your home without taking any form of precautions. There is a lot that can go wrong in a short period.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to prepare your home, that will give you the peace of mind you deserve while gone!
List of Actions You Can Take to Prepare Your South Florida Home
Reducing the Risk of Water Damage
Preventing potential water damage is one of the most important things you can do before you leave for the season. In fact, most Homeowner’s Insurance policies will deny your claim if over 30 days transpire from when an issue manifest to when it is caught. The last thing you want is for a pipe to burst and your home becomes an aquarium!
Turn off Your Main Water Valve
Whenever you are gone for more than 10 days, it is important to turn off your water valve before you leave to prevent water damage from happening to your South Florida home. Remember, this will not solve all water-related issues as there is still water in the pipes from before you turned off your water valve, water in your tank-based Hot Water Heater, and the constant rain that marks the start of summer here in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Sunni Isles or Miami to name a few potential sources, but it will go a long way in greatly alleviating your risk!
However, when your water is shut off for prolonged periods it can lead to insects infestations, noxious odors, or dried-out seals. Therefore, every time your South Florida Home Watch Company comes, they should run water through every sink, faucet, and trap. But whenever the house is unoccupied that water should be off!
Notably, mold can start at 55%, and with average humidity throughout the year over 80%, humidity is a very big concern to a vacant home in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Sunni Isles, and Miami. Since 2015, Florida’s average humidity has been around 30% over the point of mold growth making this no joking matter. Therefore, to prepare and protect your South Florida home, you must manage the humidity levels.
Properly Set Your Thermostat
By properly setting your thermostat, you reduce the likelihood of your humidity exceeding 55% and mold forming in your South Florida home. However, while you are gone, your Home Watch professional in South Florida should still monitor the humidity levels in your home (even if you have a smart thermostat).
Set the temperature between 76 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit
Put the fan setting on AUTO
Maintain your A/C Unit
As you could tell from the graph above, most home issues in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Sunni Isles, and Miami are HVAC related; therefore, it is important to take good care of your unit:
Change out your filters periodically
Run Vinegar down your Condensate Line Monthly (if within reach).
Check the outside Condensate Line for Signs of Algae
Service your A/C semi-annually
Make sure to leave extra air filters and vinegar for your South Florida Home Watch Professional to maintain your HVAC unit while away!
If you are at the home during your HVAC Service Appointment make sure to ask the relevant questions and ensure they perform all the necessary steps before they leave, it could be the difference between an uneventful summer or a week of panic if your A/C goes down while you are away!
Darken the Inside of Your Home
Pull down the blinds or close the shades to darken the inside of your South Florida home to help manage the temperature in the home.
Leave Doors Partially Open
It is important to leave these doors slightly ajar to allow for proper airflow. By doing this you will help let areas dry out properly and avoid moisture which can lead to mold.
Protecting Your Vehicle
If protecting your home was not difficult enough already, storing a vehicle in this tropical climate presents its own set of challenges too.
" Turn Off the Garage Door Transponder "
Did you know, your neighbor can open your garage door with their garage door opener? Though it does not always happen, if it does, it can be a huge security breach as most of us leave our inside garage door unlocked, allowing anyone accesses to the home. Besides the possibility of someone having access to the inside of our South Florida home, many of us keep valuable equipment in our garage as well.
A simple solution to this problem is to press the lock button on the wall console in your garage. This is located on the wall underneath a plastic cover, you will see an orange light blinking under the cover.
But, remember when you come back, your garage remote or car transponder will not work until you re-enable it; however, the garage door panel on the side will work just fine. This is important because your South Florida Home Watch Company almost always will come in via the garage to access the house for efficiency!
Steps to Storing a Vehicle
If you store your car in the garage while you’re away, most people either have their car driven periodically, typically once a month, or use a battery maintainer, also known as a trickle charger.
The best practice is to have the car driven. Make sure your Home Watch company In South Florida drives the vehicle for at least 10-15 minutes and details it once you go, this is important to get the internal temperature of the engine hot enough to remove the moisture in the oil, maintain the battery, rotate the tires, get the belts moving, and have the car detailed for when you arrive.
Most Home Watch companies in South Florida offer this service and are happy to provide it upon request, usually for an additional cost.
However, if you go the battery maintainer route, know there are a few additional steps you need to take:
Wipe down the inside of the vehicle.
Engage the air recirculation button
Close the windows completely
Increase tire air pressure 3 pounds above the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Add fuel stabilizer
Once you have followed the above-prescribed steps, now you can put on the trickle charger!
Avoiding General Issues
There are a host of general issues that South Florida homeowners can face when leaving for the season. Some are more obvious than others.
Arrange Mail Forwarding
When you leave your South Florida home unoccupied, arrange to have your mail forwarded. Mail clutters quickly, by forwarding, you are ensuring that you won’t miss any important letters. Make sure to leave a note in your mailbox that mail is to be forwarded, the forwarding address, and your name. Remember it can take several weeks for forwarding to take effect. In case any mail slips through, your Home Watch professional in South Florida will bring it inside and keep you apprised if you ask him to. Your South Florida Home Watch professional should also bring in any packages and remove any solicitations placed on your door. You never want anyone to know you are gone!
Before leaving Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Sunni Isles, or Miami FL for the season it is important to prepare your home to avoid issues from happening when you are away. The two most common issues that can happen are water and HVAC related. Fortunately, there are several actions you can take to protect your South Florida investment.
First, you can reduce the risk of water damage by turning off your main water valve and emptying the ice maker. Next, you can manage the humidity in your South Florida home by properly setting your thermostat, maintaining your A/C unit, closing the blinds of your home, and leaving doors ajar.
Furthermore, you can protect your vehicle by turning off the garage door transponder and taking proper steps to store or ship your vehicle. Also, do not forget about storms! You can prepare for storms by testing hurricane shutters and bringing outdoor items inside. If you have automated shutters make sure to leave them in the down position.
Lastly, you can avoid various general issues by forwarding your mail, properly setting your water heater, changing the batteries in all battery-operated devices, emptying the fridge amongst other things.
By taking the necessary steps listed above and coordinating with your South Florida Home Watch Professional, you will have the peace of mind you deserve!
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