VRBO: How to Winterize Your Vacant Home

September 27, 2016
Posted: Xpert Team
Categories: Blog


The winter months are right around the corner on the Outer Banks and many vacations properties will be vacant during the off season. When you are leaving your house for the winter or closing up your summer vacation rental, it’s important to winterize your property. VRBO owners should take precautions to prevent hefty utility bills, property damage, and other issues from occurring in their home. Before you head out of town, you should make a checklist and spend a few hours preparing your home to maintain its value and prevent it from deteriorating while you’re away. If you’re a VRBO owner or leaving town for a few months, below are a few suggestions to help your winterize your home!


If you are going to be leaving your home for more than a few weeks, you should winterize by draining your plumbing. This can prevent a plumbing freeze and a pipe bursting, which can cause major damage to your home. You should turn off water at the exterior and check to make sure that the water is completely turned off at the main supply point. You should open all faucets after draining the toilets, water heater, and expansion tank. Make sure that you also close the sink and tub drains and disconnect all hoses from exterior faucets. Occasionally on the Outer Banks, freezing pipes can be a problem so it’s best to prevent excessive damage to your home by remembering to winterize the plumbing system.


Set your thermostat at a level above freezing or install a low-heat thermostat. Installing a low-heat thermostat can conserve energy by maintain the temperature in your home at approximately 40 F without a freeze up. Setting your thermostat at a sufficient level will keep the interior dry and keep your home above freezing during the winter months. It is also recommended that if your vacation property is located in an area with a damp and warm climate, than you should have a humidity indicator installed to maintain its dryness. It is highly suggested that if you are leaving your home for a few months that you have a home automation equipment installed to monitor the temperature.


You should unplug all appliances, if you are planning on leaving the power on. Unplugging microwaves, TV’s, and other appliances will reduce the risk of fire due to a faulty switch or wiring issues. If your home will be vacant for an extended period, it is recommended to turn off gas hot water heaters completely. Don’t forget that appliances like the dishwasher and washing machines need to be drained and disconnected. In addition, you should turn off all electrical breakers to appliances as well as other breakers in your home. It is recommended that you should only turn off the circuit breaker if you are planning on vacating the home for an extended period of time and not a short vacation.

Outdoor Areas

Before leaving for a few months, you should take the necessary steps to protect your yard and garden. It’s important to arrange to have the lawn mowed, yard maintained, and trees trimmed to keep up the curb appeal of your home. You should cover all plants that are frost intolerant and follow up with your landscaping company to ensure that your irrigation system will be monitored during the winter months. You should bring all outdoor furniture inside and don’t leave anything outdoors that can be blown away by strong winds and cause property damage. Maintaining your yard while it is vacant will make spring cleanup much easier for your home.

Xpert Home Services is your local Outer Banks home maintenance team. We are knowledgeable about the community and are prepared to help provide the right services to winterize your home. The Outer Banks is one of the best communities to have a vacation rental property, and we have years of first-hand experience in the community to provide the right help and attention to homeowners here. Contact us today to learn more about our home maintenance services on the Outer Banks.