Now that the temperatures have started to drop in the northern United States, you're ready to take advantage of the Florida warmth at your winter home. Before you settle in, though, create a maintenance checklist. You can prepare your Florida winter home for your arrival by inspecting the HVAC system; checking appliances, doors, and windows; and looking for pests.
Clean the Home
Dust and other irritants can accumulate in a vacant home. Before you move back in, clean the house from top to bottom. Pay special attention to floors, surfaces, furnishings, decor, and ceiling fixtures, all of which attract dust. If you don't clean your home thoroughly, you might experience poor indoor air quality (IAQ).
Poor IAQ can worsen allergy symptoms, trigger asthma attacks, and cause respiratory issues. Dust mites thrive in high humidity areas such as Florida. Many people suffer from dust mite allergies, so use your air conditioner when you arrive to reduce humidity levels. You can also hire a professional to install a whole-home dehumidifier or air cleaner. Both products improve IAQ.
If you don't want to clean the house yourself, consider hiring a maid service. The company can send house cleaners to your home to freshen the space before your arrival.
Inspect the HVAC System
While you can check your air filter, put batteries in the thermostat, and vacuum around vents, you'll need a professional to perform other HVAC system maintenance tasks. In addition to preventing costly breakdowns and increasing system efficiency, regular maintenance can also extend your HVAC system's lifespan.
Use our convenient search feature to find HVAC companies in your area. Compare your options based on their technicians' certifications, Better Business Bureau ratings, brand familiarity, and more. Many of the companies we recommend offer maintenance service agreements, which can help you save money on future repairs and other issues.
Turn On the HVAC System
If you have a smart thermostat, you can activate the air conditioner before you arrive. That way, you won't come home to a stuffy or uncomfortable home. Most smart thermostats come with associated smartphone applications. When you're within hours of arrival, turn on the air conditioner by activating the thermostat.
If you have an air cleaner or dehumidifier, the smart thermostat can also control those units. Talk with your HVAC technician about maintaining the correct humidity level in your winter home and improving IAQ.
Check Appliances, Doors, and Windows
When you haven't visited your winter home since last spring, you don't want to assume that your appliances, windows, and doors are in good repair. Check the locks on doors and windows to make sure they're still functional. Check for any gaps in the casings. If you find gaps, install weather-stripping to keep the cool or warm air inside your home.
Run your appliances when you arrive, too. Refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, hot water heaters and other appliances can fall out of repair even when they're not in use. Look for any standing water that could suggest a leak somewhere in the house, and flush all the toilets to check for problems.
Survey the Yard
Take a tour of your yard to check for fallen tree limbs, trash, holes, destroyed plants, and any other issues that might need your attention. While you're outside, look over your home's facade. If possible, take a look at the roof to make sure you don't see missing shingles. Look in any other structures on your property, such as storage sheds, and inspect your fence, if applicable, for loose boards or exposed nails.
Look for Pests
Rodents, insects, and other pests sometimes like to infest homes. Even if you have taken all precautions, you might find evidence of rodents in the home's ductwork or spiders in the corners of rooms. Treat any pest issues yourself or call a professional extermination company to take care of the problem.
When you return to your Florida winter home, you want to feel safe and secure. Even though Florida stays warm most of the year, you might still need to use a furnace or operate your heat pump, so make sure they work properly before cold weather arrives. Turn to ACSoutheast.com to find the best HVAC contractors for the job.