The start of summer heat means that the annual migration of Phoenix Snowbirds is already underway. Our city’s intense climate is a relief to many in the winter, but a trial in the summertime. If you are packing up your house and heading north for the season, here are some things to consider.
You don’t want your home to look empty, but if you are leaving for 3-6 months, it is usually cost effective to suspend services like cable, internet and landline telephone while you are away. Utilities like electricity and gas should, of course, stay on, but you can minimize expenses by unplugging most appliances and turning off your hot water heater.
Consider installing a smart home system that allows you to regulate temperature and lighting remotely. Exposure to extreme desert heat can damage some household items – vinyl records can warp, for example. While you are away either store vulnerable items at a climate-controlled storage space or a room you can temperature control remotely.
Replace batteries to your smoke detectors, CO2 detectors and alarm systems before you go. Right before you go, turn off the main gas valve to your home, and the house water valve. Leave the inside doors open so air can circulate. Leave your appliances- like washers and dryers open as well.
You don’t want to leave food or perishables at your empty house while you are away for months at a time. Food can go stale, rot, or attract unwanted vermin. Pantry items in cans and jars are safe to leave behind. Dry shelf-stable items in thin plastic wrapping or cardboard boxes should get stores in a sturdy plastic or metal bin with a tight-sealing lid.
If you can, leave your fridge empty, open and unplugged. This will save you energy costs and air out your appliance. In the two weeks leading up to your departure, work your way through the food in your fridge, and only buy the minimum groceries you need to supplement what you have. Before you depart give away any remaining food to a friend or neighbor.
Sometimes it will make sense to keep a fridge running while you are away. Condiments and frozen goods can keep for long periods when refrigerated and frozen. If you are going to keep the fridge running, fill it up with non-perishable items like bottled water, or pantry items. A full fridge uses less energy than an empty one.
Don’t forget about outside your home as well! Before you depart, put in an irrigation timer that will keep your landscaping happy through the summer heat. Lawn furniture should be brought into the shade or stored for the season to avoid heat damage. If you have a hot tub, leave water in it and set it to automatically filter setting. If your house has a pool or extensive landscaping, you may want to hire a service to maintain them while you are away.
Make sure you get your mail set up to forward to you at your summer residence, and suspend any newspaper subscriptions and other deliveries to your home. It is a good idea to hire a friend, neighbor or vacation watch service to check in on your home while it is empty. The person watching you home should clear fliers from it, make sure there isn’t weather damage or break ins.
Don’t leave valuables at your home while you are away. Items of value should be stored in a safe deposit box or a secure storage space. If you live with a lot of houseplants, try to loan them out for the season you are away. Sometimes shutting down your home can be a lot of work and it may make more sense to have a house sitter stay while you are away. If you plan on hiring a house sitter you don’t know well, check their references.
What if there was a cost-effective, sustainable way to keep your home comfortable year-round? There is! CC Sunscreens specializes in custom sunscreens that passively block excess heat, reduce your energy costs and offer a stylish solution to the discomfort of summer. A home protected with CC Sunscreens may even convince a resolute snowbird to nest in the desert year-round!