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Planning a Winter Getaway? Don’t Leave Your Home Out in the Cold

Planning a Winter Getaway? Don’t Leave Your Home Out in the Cold

The average January temperature in Honolulu is 80 degrees. The average January temperature in Miami is 75 degrees. The average January temperature in Chicago is… a balmy 24 degrees. That actually sounds relatively warm compared to some of the frigid temps we’ve endured this month here in the Windy City. 

If you’re a snowbird or just planning a short trip to escape the Chicago winter for a bit, there are some ways to ensure your home withstands our inclement weather while you’re away. You can also use these tips even if you’re staying in town. 


*To prevent water from freezing in your pipes, open the cabinets under your sinks. This allows warm air to come in contact with your water pipes. Leave your heat on while you’re gone. Set the thermostat to at least 60 degrees. 

*Check to see where your water main pipe enters your home. Make sure warm air surrounds the pipe or have a plumber properly insulate the pipe to help keep it from freezing. 

*On extremely cold days, it’s a good idea to leave one faucet dripping. A slight trickle is enough. Moving water is less likely to freeze. 

Interior Maintenance


*Change the air filters in your furnace. If your furnace has a built-in humidifier, don’t forget to change its small filter as well.

*Wipe the condensation off your window frames every morning. Remove screens if you have to. Sometimes you will find frozen condensation. You may find pools of melted condensation. It’s important to wipe your windows because excess condensation could cause mold.

*To help minimize condensation, open curtains and blinds and raise shades every morning. Don’t leave them closed. The air won’t be able to flow around your windows to help dry them.

*If you have radiant floor heat, make sure you don’t adjust its temperature more than two degrees per day. It can take up to 24 hours for the water temperature to adjust throughout the tubing in the floor.

*Check the humidity levels in your home. If the humidity level is too high, there will be too much moisture around your windows. If the humidity level is too low, you could see cracks in your wood trim and your hardwood floors could separate too much. Slight separation of the wood floor planks in the winter months is normal. They will expand again as the weather warms up.

Exterior Maintenance 

*Make sure your windows and doors have proper caulking to prevent cold air from entering and warm air from escaping your home.

*If you have sprinkler systems as part your landscaping, drain the water in the system before winter hits. If you don’t the water could freeze, causing the pipes to burst.

*Keep your scupper boxes, gutters and downspouts clear of debris to help prevent roof problems.  If your gutters and downspouts have excessive ice buildup, consider installing heating cables to keep the melting snow from freezing again.

*Clear excess snow from exterior windows and doors to prevent water infiltration once the snow melts.

Don’t wait for a warm-up to buy or sell a home or condo. Contact Jim Miller and JM Partners at 773.617.6638 or