Winter and Break Preparation Off-Campus

Prevent Frozen Pipes: Heat Your Home Over Winter Break

  • If you will be away over the winter break, do not turn your heat off.
  • You can turn your thermostat down, but set it to no lower than 55 degrees. Turning your heat off or setting the thermostat lower than 55 degrees may cause significant damage if the pipes freeze. The cost, often in the thousands of dollars, could potentially be passed on to you.
  • If you plan to be out of town for any length of time over the winter break, make arrangements with your landlord to safeguard your residence against this potentially serious and costly problem. If you notice your water pipes are exposed to cold air, such as those next to exterior walls, or gaps in walls, floors and/or insulation, point these out to the landlord or owner in writing. You may wish to consider taking pictures. Taking these actions now may help you avoid having your pipes freeze, and could serve as protection against your financial liability should that happen.

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Prevent Break-ins and Theft: Protect Your Home

Whether you are going home for a weekend or leaving for break, it is important to keep your apartment/house secure to prevent burglaries.

  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked.
  • Do not leave a spare key outside (i.e. under the floor mat) unless it is in a combination key lockbox.
  • If you are leaving for more than a week, be sure to remove any items that may spoil from your refrigerator and/or cupboards and empty all trashcans.
  • Do not turn your heat completely off when leaving during winter months. Doing so may cause your pipes to freeze/burst.
  • If you are leaving for more than a week, ask a neighbor, friend, or your landlord to occasionally check on your house or apartment. Give them a spare key and emergency contact information for you and/or your roommates.
  • Make sure all windows are closed and secure and your blinds are closed.
  • Make sure all entrances are well lit. A burglar is less likely to break into a door where they can easily be seen.
  • If you will be gone for more than a few days, stop mail delivery or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail. A full mailbox could alert a burglar that your home is unoccupied.
  • Take valuables with you. If you do leave valuables, make sure they are away from windows and out of sight.
  • Do not leave any notes for friends or service people on your door. This could indicate to a burglar that no one is home.