Prep Your House for Snowbird Season

Ways to make sure your empty home remains in ship shape.

(Image credit: adogslifephoto)

As the temperature drops and months of cold weather loom ahead, snowbirds pack up for warmer climates, anticipating sunny days free of freezing ice, snow shoveling and other winter worries. But if you’re not careful to prepare your home before you travel thousands of miles to your warmer destination, that escape won’t be so carefree.

“You just don’t know what can happen when you are away,” says Jack Luber, executive director of the National Home Watch Association, which represents companies that perform scheduled inspections of unoccupied homes. “Water heaters and pipes can spring leaks, and the smallest leak that goes undiscovered can cause a flood. Sometimes it’s just horrible.”

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Mary Kane
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Mary Kane is a financial writer and editor who has specialized in covering fringe financial services, such as payday loans and prepaid debit cards. She has written or edited for Reuters, the Washington Post, BillMoyers.com, MSNBC, Scripps Media Center, and more. She also was an Alicia Patterson Fellow, focusing on consumer finance and financial literacy, and a national correspondent for Newhouse Newspapers in Washington, DC. She covered the subprime mortgage crisis for the pathbreaking online site The Washington Independent, and later served as its editor. She is a two-time winner of the Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards sponsored by the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. She also is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches a course on journalism and publishing in the digital age. She came to Kiplinger in March 2017.