Closing up your Seattle summer home for the season can be bittersweet. It is the end of lazy days at the summer house and time well spent with family and friends. Although, it is nice to get back into your regular routine at home. Before you can head out there is a lot of work that needs to happen at your summer home. Everything needs to be cleaned and put away, and you also need to make sure your home is secure.
Closing up a house for the season will take a long time, and the bigger the house the more time is needed. Make sure to block out plenty of time to clean and stow everything away.
Make a list of everything you need to do to close up the house. As you go through and complete tasks cross them off the list. Create copies of this list so you can use it again in the future.
Draw the blinds and close curtains in rooms that have window treatments. This will protect furniture and artwork from being exposed to sunlight, but it will also ensure would-be thieves cannot see inside your home.
From bed linens to patio furniture everything needs to be cleaned. Items should also be put away. Items typically stored outside, like a grill, seating, planters and anything else should be stored in the shed or garage where they can be secured.
If your summer home has water, electrical or natural gas services you need to take steps to properly turn everything off. Turning off utilities will prevent damage to the home if something goes wrong. It is also a good idea to turn utilities off to keep bills low. In the event of a fire, it will be safer and easier for firefighters if the electric and natural gas services are both turned off.
Turn off circuit breakers for anything that is not essential, like a home security system or outdoor lights on motion sensors. Go a step further and unplug all appliances and electronics. From the refrigerator to alarm clocks and even the washer and dryer unplug everything. This will protect items if there is an electrical strike.
It is important to turn off the water and drain the pipes, so if the winter temperature dips below freezing pipes do not burst. Also, make sure to turn off the hot water heater and the gas service if applicable.
Draw a floorplan of the home and indicate where the utilities and their shutoffs are located. This map should show where the electrical box is, as well as the water shutoff and natural gas shutoff if applicable. Make sure to leave copies of this map in a high visibility spot, like a table by the front door or the kitchen counter. This way if a caretaker or neighbor needs to let a contractor into the home or if you loan the house to a friend or relative for a weekend they know where to find everything.
This is the time to fix anything that is broken or just not working right. If there is a dripping faucet or the key to the front door lock sticks you should fix and replace items as needed. Arrange to have a professional come to make repairs to anything you are unable to fix yourself.
If there is anything of value in the home consider removing it. Items like artwork do not need to be stored in the house for the winter. Although, it may make the most sense to keep larger items, like antique furniture, in the home.
One of the last things to do is secure the home. Make sure the home is secure and everything that has a lock is locked. This includes sheds and any outbuildings. Also remember to lock the garage door, since this is a door that is commonly overlooked by homeowners, but not thieves.
Make sure to engage the alarm before heading out. This will ensure your home is protected against intruders and will keep you and your family safe when you return. If there are neighbors you are friendly with who will be in the area during the winter ask them to check in on your home. Make sure they have your contact info, so they can reach out if necessary. You can also let the local police department know that your home will be vacant for the winter.
Closing your summer home takes a lot of work. All of the work is necessary and will keep your home safe and secure over the winter. Doing a lot of work at the end of the season also means there will be less to do when you open the house up next spring.
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