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Thanksgiving/Winter Break: Closing Checklist and Reminders

As winter arrives, it is important that we consider the potential of freeze claims, especially during breaks for the upcoming holidays. Preventing frozen pipes is probably the most important consideration over the winter breaks, but closing the chapter house before Thanksgiving and winter breaks involves several additional tasks to ensure that everything is in order and secure. Here’s a checklist we’ve developed to help:

Before break:

  • Schedule a house-wide cleaning. Make sure all common areas are clean and tidy, and that all personal belongings are removed from shared spaces.
  • Unplug all non-essential appliances. This includes electronics, lamps, and small kitchen appliances.
  • Keep the heat on. Set the thermostat at or above 60 degrees during breaks to ensure the pipes don’t freeze.
  • Dispose of perishable items in the kitchen
  • Close all windows and doors securely. This will help to keep out pests and drafts.
  • Lock all doors and windows. Make sure all windows and doors are locked.
  • Notify the police and fire department that the house will be vacant. This will help to ensure that they are aware of the situation in case of an emergency.

During the break:

  • Have someone check on the house regularly. 
  • Shovel snow and ice from the sidewalks and walkways. This will help to prevent slips and falls.
  • Clear any fallen branches or other debris from the yard. This will help to prevent damage to the house or property.

After returning:

  • Check for any leaks or damage to the house. Contact Heather Cox, MJ’s Claims Service Manager, if you notice any damage. 
  • Turn up the thermostat and let the house warm up.

Additional tips:

  • Leave a list of emergency contact information in a visible location. This could include the names and phone numbers of the House Corporation President, house director, and local police and fire department.
  • Consider having a professional plumber winterize the house for longer breaks. This will help to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Consider installing a water detection/heat monitoring system. Learn more here.
  • Review our resource on preventing frozen pipes. Be prepared before cold temperatures arrive by reviewing our resource on preventing frozen pipes in the first place.