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For many Michiganders the start of fall is a time to say goodbye until next summer to their vacation home. This annual ritual is an important one that involves draining the pipes, protecting your mattresses and bedding from critters, packing up kitchen ware to protect against insects and dust, and unplugging appliances to guard against lightening strikes.

For most closing up their seasonal home will take about a day.

So before you hit the lights and turn the key in the lock for the last time, make sure you’ve taken care of these house-protecting tasks.

Don’t forget these tasks to winterize your vacation home:

  • Shut off the water; drain the pipes, and the hot water heater
  • Unplug all appliances, especially the television, and telephones in case of a lightning strike
  • Turn off all circuit breakers except the one for the alarm
  • Turn off the gas supply if it is not your heat source
  • Turn the heat down to the lowest setting but not off.
  • Empty the refrigerator and cupboards: Food can attract animals, and canned goods can explode if they freeze.
  • Put away outdoor furniture, grills, and other accessories, including garbage cans
  • Lock shed and garage doors
  • Hang a few strips of flypaper
  • Lock all windows and doors
  • Take the last load of garbage to the dump
  • Set the alarm

A few hours can save your peace of mind all winter long. In the spring your vacation home will be secure and ready for another great summer!