As the north thaws out and the temperature climbs here in the Sunshine State, we normally see many families return to various locations across the country (mainly the East and Midwest) to enjoy the summer months ahead. COVID-19 has likely delayed some of these plans. But when our state’s state-at-home order lifts, you’ll want to make sure your Florida home is ready to spend the summer—and hurricane season—without you. Our Progressive Design Build team encourages you to take these 5 precautions before you leave, so your Florida home will be ready to welcome you back in the fall:
1. Check Your Climate Controls
Your Florida winter home will bake in the sweltering, wet heat. So, you need to prevent problems like mold, mildew, woodwork warping and other unpleasant infestations by setting the climate controls properly. If you don’t have a smart-thermostat or temperature-monitoring system installed already, now is a good time to do it, so you can set consistent temperature and humidity parameters inside of your home for the summer:
- Run air the conditioner for a few hours daily to maintain a consistent temperature.
- Keep the humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
- Close all fireplace dampers.
- Seal kitchen and bathroom vents with plastic.
- Have doors and windows weather-sealed.
Many of today’s smart thermostats have tools you can monitor and control with your phone or computer, thousands of miles away!
2. Get Your Home Hurricane Ready
Don’t forget to hurricane-prep your home before you leave. Hurricane season this year starts June 1 and lasts through November 30—typically the time when snowbirds are away for the season. And, weather forecasters expect this summer’s hurricane season to be another bad one!
While you can’t control mother nature’s hurricane decisions, you can do several things to protect your home and minimize hurricane damage:
- Install and deploy your hurricane shutters.
- Make sure all rain gutters are cleaned out and secured.
- Remove and securely stow all objects from patios and porches: (furniture, planters, BBQs, decorative items, etc.).
- Consider having a whole house surge protection system installed, or unplug electronics.
- Empty the fridge and freezer of any food.
- Clear the pantry of opened food packages or any items that could attract pests.
- Double check your home insurance policy for flooding and other potential hurricane hazards.
There’s no way to know what the hurricane season will bring, but following these tips will make your home safer. And if a storm hits, these measures can minimize damage, as well as the trauma and expense.
3. Protect Your Florida Home
Hurricanes aren’t the only elements that can damage your Florida home over the summer. Criminals can case and rob empty snowbirds’ homes. So, we recommend having a good security system installed. Let your security company know the dates when you’ll be gone, so they’ll be alert to any untoward activity on your property. State Farm also recommends the following tips to discourage any roaming criminal types:
- Stop mail, package and newspaper deliveries for the time you’re away. Piles of packages at the door can be stolen and indicate that you’re not there to collect them. A stuffed newspaper box says the same thing.
- Don’t share so much on social media. Thieves can see more than you think. Avoid telling just anyone where you’re going and what your travel plans are. Privately tell close friends, family and neighbors instead, so they can keep an eye on your place while you’re away. You can share your summer pictures after you get back.
- Take valuables and important papers with secure information on them with you, or store them in a safe deposit box. Don’t leave them behind at the house.
- Make sure your landscaping company continues to come and weed and mow the lawn so it looks freshly manicured. Have them trim trees before you leave – both for hurricane safety and to prevent easy access to upper-story windows.
- Set timers on the lights, both indoors and outdoors, so it looks like people are home.
- Close all the blinds and curtains; this will help with climate control and prevent curious thieves from peeping into your windows.
- Don’t leave any spare keys hidden outside. Criminals know all of the hiding places; seriously—all of them. Instead, leave a spare key with a trusted friend or neighbor.
- Double—nay, triple check all the locks and windows around the house before you leave. And, whatever you do, don’t forget to make sure the garage door and entrances are securely locked!
- Have a neighbor park in your driveway from time to time over the summer.
- Check with your local police station to see if there are some neighborhood watch organizations for your area, and register with them.
In the fall, when you’re headed back to Florida from your travels, make sure to do all the same things on your northern home as well, but with winter-weather home protections (like protecting your pipes from freezing) instead.
4. Thinking about Home Sharing?
If you’ve got great, watchful neighbors and you’ve taken all the valuables with you, consider using a service like Airbnb to rent your home out to nice folks over the summer months. Not only will it make the place looked lived in (to discourage criminals), you can also generate some useful income at the same time. If your home is close to popular tourist areas, you can make a nice chunk of change.
Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need to hire someone to manage your property during this time to ensure it stays well-kept and secure as people come and go. You’ll want to be sure that the home is cleaned between guests, and that nothing gets stolen or broken.
5. Consider Remodeling While You’re Away
Your summer traveling adventure can also be the perfect time to have that big remodeling project taken care of, so you won’t have to worry about living through the noise and the dust of it. Want to come home to see that cramped kitchen turned into an updated chef’s dream? The master bathroom converted into a luxurious retreat? That whole house remodel you’ve been dreaming of? The backyard transformed into an outdoor tropical oasis? Check out our blog on all the precautions to take and what do prepare for a remodeling project while you’re away. And, now is the perfect time to start planning your remodel.
Progressive Design Build has been remodeling snowbirds’ homes around Fort Myers, Naples, Bonita Bay, and Sentinel for nearly three decades, garnering gushing reviews for stunning work, high security, and 3-year warranties. Schedule a consultation today, and make sure to peruse our portfolio so you can see why we’re the design-build firm Southwest Florida snowbirds trust with their home remodeling over the summer!