If you’re leaving school for a few weeks to head back home or go on a trip, then it’s important that your apartment is in good condition before you leave. As a renter, it can be easy to overlook your role in properly winterizing your apartment while you’re gone but doing so can save you money while also saving both you and your landlord a lot of headaches. Check out this blog to learn what you need to do before leaving your university off-campus housing in Athens over winter break.
Reset Your Thermostat
If you have control over your apartment’s thermostat, you may be tempted to simply shut it off while you’re gone in order to save on utilities. But doing so can cause your apartment’s temperatures to plunge during a cold snap, which can lead to your pipes freezing. Plus, when you return, you may find your apartment virtually uninhabitable for hours while your heater works overtime to try to get it back up to a livable temperature.
While it’s perfectly fine—in fact, it’s strongly recommended—to turn down your heat while you’re gone, you shouldn’t set it below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure nothing freezes in your apartment and will reduce the odds of you burning out your furnace when you return from break.
Open Cabinets under Sinks
It may sound strange, but before you leave your apartment, you should open the doors to any cabinets under your bathroom and kitchen sinks. Why? Those closed-off areas are going to be much cooler than the temperature you set for the rest of your apartment—especially if the sink is against an exterior wall. By opening the cabinets, you allow the warm air from the rest of the space to flow under the sink, keeping the area warmer.
Obviously, the area under the sink has pipes that likely contain some standing water from the last time you washed your hands or did the dishes. If those pipes get too cold, the water can freeze and expand, causing the pipes to burst. Opening the cabinet doors is a small thing that can prevent a big disaster in your apartment.
Make a Note of Cold Spots
If you’ve been in the apartment for a while, you may have noticed areas that don’t get quite the same airflow as others. If you’ve noticed any cold spots in your apartment—don’t worry, we’re fairly confident they’re not caused by ghosts—then you should take extra measures to prevent any freezing in those areas. For cold spots around pipes, you might want to wrap the pipes with some sort of insulator. You may also invest in a quality space heater to keep the area warm.
Please ensure any space heater you purchase is equipped with safety shut-off features that will turn the heater off if it tips over; in terms of disasters, a burst pipe is probably actually better than causing a fire. You can also ask a neighbor or friend who’s sticking around for the break to check in every now and then to make sure all is well.
While full-scale winterization, like insulating the apartment, falls to your landlord, as a tenant, you can still do your part to ensure your apartment is properly winterized during your absence. Follow the tips above, and you’ll come home to a comfortable, flood-free apartment after break. If you’re looking for new Athens, Ohio, off-campus housing for the coming semester, contact Wharton Rentals.