How To Close Your Florida Home

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Title:
How To Close Your Florida Home
Physical Description:
Fact sheet
Creator:
Peart, Virginia
Publisher:
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status:
Published
General Note:
"Publication date: November 1992."
General Note:
"EES-66"

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the submitter.
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IR00004841:00001


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FactSheetEES-66 November1992 HowtoCloseYourFloridaHome1 VirginiaPeart2INTRODUCTIONMostpeoplelivinginFloridahavelivedinother partsofthecountryandfrequentlyreturntotheir formercommunitiestovisitfriendsandneighbors. SomepeoplespendpartoftheyearinFloridaand partoftheyearinotherareasofthecountry. Additionally,almosteveryoneislikelytobeaway fromhishomeseveraldaysorweeksatatimefor businessorpleasure. It'salwaysgoodtoreturnhome,yetoccasionally wehearofpeoplewhoreturntotheirFloridahomes tofindtheyhaveamildewormoistureproblem,or theexterioroftheirhouseseemstolookmore rundownwhentheyreturn.Worseyet,reportsof burglaryorvandalismappearinthenewsdaily. Whatcanyoudotominimizethepossibilitythat youmayreturntoyourhomeandfindaserious problem? ClosingYourHome hasbeendevelopedto helpFloridaresidentsmakeplansforprotectingtheir homeswhentheyaretobeabsent.Therearethings youcandotoprotectyourhomefrommoisture problems,deteriorationoftheexterior,orthe intrusionofburglarsandvandals. Airconditioningcanbeusedtoreducepotential moistureproblems,yetuseaminimumamountof energy.Asyoureadorstudyeachsectionconsider thestepsyoushouldtakeinpreparingforan extendedabsence.Manyofthesuggestionswouldbe wisetofollowevenwhenyouwillbeathome.INTERIORPROCEDURESYouhaveheardthestoriesofpeoplereturningto theirFloridahomesinthefallandwintergreetedby mildewonwalls,clothingandfurnishings;musty smellsandotherunpleasantodors;andrustyspotson appliancesamongotherlosses.Whydosuch conditionsseemtoaboundwhennooneisthere? Rememberwhyyouleftforthesummer?Florida iswarmandhumid.Pestsandorganismssuchas mildewandbacteriaattackorganicmaterials.Wood, cotton,wool,leatherandthetiniesttracesofdirtor evenstarchinfabricscandecay,deteriorateand developodors.Metalsareattacked.Theslightest scratchthroughtheenamelonawasheror refrigeratorexposesthebasemetaltomoistureand oxygenintheair.Rustandcorrosionfollow. KnowingtherulestoMotherNature'sgameplan willhelpyouplanacounter-attackbeforeyouleave forthesummer.Therearetwoimportantwatch words: clean and dry. 1.ThisdocumentisFactSheetEES-66,aseriesoftheFloridaEnergyExtensionService,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFood andAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida.Publicationdate:November1992. 2.VirginiaPeart,AssociateProfessorandExtensionHousingSpecialist,HomeEconomicsDept.,CooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFood andAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611. TheFloridaEnergyExtensionServicereceivesfundingfromtheFloridaEnergyOffice,DepartmentofCommunityAffairsandisoperated bytheUniversityofFlorida'sInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesthroughtheCooperativeExtensionService.Theinformation containedhereinistheproductoftheFloridaEnergyExtensionServiceanddoesnotnecessarilyreflecttheviewsoftheFloridaEnergyOffice. TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/ChristineTaylorStephens,Dean

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HowtoCloseYourFloridaHome Page2CleanFoodsoilsandbodyoilsleftontowels,articlesof clothing,orfurnishingsabsorbwateroutofhumidair andattractmildewfungiandpestssuchasroaches andants.It'simportanttocleanthoroughlybefore youleave.KitchenandLaundry Cleaneachappliancethoroughly.Cleanenamel exteriorswithsudsywater,rinseanddry.Apply acoatingofappliancewaxtoenamelexteriorsto protectscratchesfromrust.Leaveappliances unpluggedwhileyouaregonetoprotectfrom electricalcurrentsurgesduringsummerstorms. Unopenedcansandjarsoffoodcanbelefton shelves.Flour,sugarsandsaltshouldbestoredin tightlysealedcontainers.Disposeofcereals, crackersandpastastoavoidhouseholdpests. Cleancabinetinteriorsandexteriors. Cleanoven,broileranddriptraysunder surfaceunitsoftherange. Freshandperishablefoodsshouldbeeatenor discarded.Giveawayortossopenedbottlesand jarsofsaladdressings,condiments,etc.,inthe refrigerator.Itwillcostlesstoreplacethemif youaregone2or3monthsthantorunyour refrigerator.Cleantherefrigeratorinteriorwitha solutionof1tablespoonofbakingsodain1quart ofwatertoneutralizefoodsoilsandprevent odors.Drythoroughly.Removeandcleanthe defrostpanbehindthegrillatthebottomof yourrefrigerator.Therefrigeratorandfreezer doorsshouldbeleftajar. Removeanyfoodparticlesfromthefilterifone ispresentinthebottomofthedishwasher.Run thedishwasherthroughashortcycle.Afterafew minutesintothecycle,turnoffthedishwasher, openthedoorandcleanoutaroundthedoor gasketandunderthebottomofthedoorto removeanyresidualsoilthatmightmoldinthese areas.Completethecycle.Unlatchthedoor,but leaveitclosedtoreleasethepressureonthedoor seal. Cleanthedisposerbyrunningabatchofice cubesfromthefreezer.Runasolutionofbaking sodaandwaterthroughthedisposerandleave thestopperinplacetopreventwaterfromthe trapbeneaththedisposerfromevaporating duringthesummer. Toremovespattersinamicrowave,heatacupof waterinacoolmicrowavefortwominuteson high.Condensationonthewallswillloosen spatters.Washwithsudsywater,rinseanddry. Ifportablemodel,leaveitunplugged. Cleanportableappliancesthoroughly.Besureto openthetrapdoorunderthetoastertoremove crumbsandclean. Turnoffthewatersupplytothewasherto eliminatepressuredamagetothehoses.Clean thelintfilter,ifany. Cleanthelintfilterinthedryer. Turnthewaterheateroffifgoneforamonthor more.Forshorterabsences,turnthethermostat toitslowestsetting.Bath Cleanallsurfacesandfixtures.Covertoiletand tanktopwithaplasticwrap.Putstoppersin drains.OtherRooms Cleanandleavealightcoatingofwaxonsurfaces ofwoodfurniture. Vacuumupholsteredfurniture(evencrevice areas)well.Ittherearespotsandstains,remove orcleanbeforeclosingthehome.Usea commercialupholsterycleaner.Followdirections carefully. Leavebeddingandbathlinenscleananddry. Vacuummattressthoroughlyandcoverlightly withasheet. Leaveonlycleanclothesinclosets.Allowspace betweengarmentstopermitcirculationofair. Donotleaveitemsonthefloor.Leathershoes, belts,handbagsshouldbecleanedwithaleather cleaner.Spraywithadisinfectantspray.Donot wrapgarmentsorotheritemstightlyinplastic. Thismayincreasemildewandotherproblems. Metalhangers,evenwhencoveredwithpapercan rustandstainclothing.Plastichangersarea

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HowtoCloseYourFloridaHome Page3must.Leaveclosetdoorsopentopermitair circulation.Dry OutdoorMoistureSincetheairinFloridahaslotsofmoisture,itis importantthatwindowsanddoorsbeweathersealed tokeepmoistureout.Bathandkitchenventscanbe coveredwithplasticwraptosealoutmoisture.Ifyou haveafireplace,besurethedamperisclosed.IndoorMoistureWaterfromdrainsandtoiletswillevaporateand addtothemoistureinthehouse.Ifallmoisture fromdrainevaporates,sewergascancomeintothe home.Drainstoppersshouldbeclosedandtoilets andtanktopssealedwithplasticwrap.Leavehouse plantsoutsideorwithaneighbor.Havingsomeone comeintowaterplantsaddsmoisture.Turnoff wateratthemeterifitisnotusedforlawnirrigation. Thiswillpreventfloodingifapipeshouldbreak.HUMIDITYMANAGEMENT IfYouDon'tHaveAirConditioningThetemperatureinyourhomewillriseduringthe heatofthedaywhenyouareawayinthesummer. Thistemperaturerisewillactuallyresultinalower relativehumidity.Thismayinhibitmoisturerelated problemsifenoughmoistureiskeptoutofyour housebythemethodsprescribedearlier.Desiccants thatdonotliquifymayhelpkeepmoisturedownin enclosedspacesthataretightlysealedsuchasinan airtighttrunk. Adehumidifieroperatedbyadraintocarry moistureawaycanbeahelpthoughitwillnotbeas usefulasairconditioning. Ifyouplantouseachemicalmildewinhibitor, seethepublication,H-99, ChemicalMildewInhibitors -ShouldUseThem?How? Foradditionalinformationaboutmildewcontrol, seeIFASpublication,HE3042. HowToPreventand RemoveMildew.AirConditioningConsiderationsThereisnoreasontomaintaincomfortableliving temperatureswhenyouareawayinthesummer, howeverperiodicairconditioneroperationwill removemoisturefromyourhome.Toassurethe continuedeffectiveoperationofyourairconditioner andtopreventexcessiveenergyuse,followthese suggestions:LeaveYourAirConditionerinGoodConditionJustbeforeyouleaveisagoodtimeforanair conditionercheck-upbyaprofessional,butthereis somecheckingyoucando:Airconditioningfilter.Changeitorifwashable, washit.Anaccumulationofdirtplusthesummer heatandhumiditycancausemildewandmoldgrowth whichcanspreadthroughthehouse. Leakage.Checkaroundtheedgesofwindowair conditionersforleakage.Tapeanyleakswith approvedducttape.AProfessionalCheck-upWillAdditionally Cleantheblowerwheelandcoil. Checkthetemperaturedropacrossthecooling coilandaddrefrigerantifneeded. Adjusttensiononbelts. Checkthethermostat. Inspectwiringandconnections. Cleanthecondensatepanandpipe. Checktheoperationofmotors.OperateYourAirConditioningtoSaveEnergyRunningyourairconditionerfortwohoursaday whenyourhouseisclosedandsealedwillreduce potentialdevelopmentofmildew.Theairconditioner shouldbeequippedwithatimersettooperateinthe coolmorninghours,beginningat3or4a.m.Setthe thermostatlowenoughtooperatecontinuallyduring the2-hourperiod. CAUTION:Theuseofa humidistattocontroltheoperationofanair conditionermaycauseproblemssinceitcanbe difficulttooperateproperly.Ifsettoolowornot properlycalibrated,itwillcausetheairconditionerto runtoolong,wasteenergyandresultinhighelectric bills.CalculatingtheCostofAirConditioningFirstestimatekilowaithours(KWH)usingthe BTUratingoftheairconditioner,theSeasonal

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HowtoCloseYourFloridaHome Page4EnergyEfficiencyRatio(SEER)fromtheyellowlabel onanewairconditionerandthehourstheair conditionerwillbeused. Example:A3-tonairconditioner,whichuses12,000 BTperton,or36,000BTU,withaSEERof6, operatingforhoursperdayforamonth(30days) wouldusetheexampleshowninEquation2. Costtooperateforamonthiftheelectricityrateis $0.09: Cost($)=KWHxElectricityRate Cost=360KWHx$0.09perKWH Cost=$32.40 Theseamountsareconsiderablylessthan Table1.Sampleusesoftheequations. SampleEquations Costpermonthat: $0.09KWH $0.10KWH 3tonA/C(SEER=6) $32.00 $36.00 3tonA/C(SEER=8)$24.30 $27.00 2.5tonA/C(SEER=6)$27.00 $30.00 2.5tonA/C(SEER=8) $20.26 $22.50operatingyourairconditioningcontinuously,butina tightlyconstructedhousetheymaybesufficientto reducetheprobabilityofmildewproblems.SeeTable 1forexamplesonusingtheequation.EXTERIORPLANNINGWarmweatherinFloridaishardonhousingthat isnotingoodrepair.Heavyseasonalrainswilldrive waterinsidethestructurewheredefectsexist.Algae andmildewwillthriveifconditionsareright. Beforeyouleaveforanextendedperioditiswise tochecktheexteriorofyourhousetomakesureitis intip-topshape. Manycondominiumormanufacturedhomeparks takecareofsomeorpartoftheexteriormaintenance. Peoplewholivetheremustcheckwiththe managementtoseewhattheirresponsibilitiesforcare andmaintenanceareduringaperiodofabsence.FoundationOftheHouse Whetherahouseisonaslaboroveracrawl spaceorabasement(basementsarerarelyused incentralorsouthernFlorida),thegradingofthe groundshoulddirectrainwaterawayfromthe house. Exteriorwoodonahouseshouldbehighenough fromthegroundthatitwon'tgetwetduringa downpour.Withawideover-hang,lowerexterior wallsarelesslikelytogetwet. Landscapingaroundthefoundationofahouse shouldbeplacedfarenoughawayfromthehouse (twofeetormore)topermitairtoflowfreely andpreventhighhumidityareasthatallowalgae andmildewtogrow. Thecrawlspace,ifthereisone,shouldnothave standingwaterafterheavyrainsandshouldbe wellventilated.RoofandGutters Neglectanddamagetoroofandgutterscanresult inleaks,seepageanddecayproblems. Checkfordamaged,curied,looseormissing shingles. Checkflashingaroundchimneysandventsfor damage. Removeleavesanddebrisfromguttersand downspouts.Checkguttersanddownspoutsfor damage.Observeafterheavyraintoseeifwater isflowingfreelyinthem. Removeaccumulationsofdebrisfromroof.ExteriorWalls Exteriorwallsshouldbefreeofleaksthatwould letwaterfromrainsormoistureintheairenter ahouseinwarm,humidclimates. Checkmasonrywallsforcracksorloosemortar.

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HowtoCloseYourFloridaHome Page5 Paintedwallsshouldnothavemildew,cracksor blisters.WindowsandDoors Lookforgapsbetweenwindowsordoorsand walls.Usecaulkingtofillin. Replacebrokenorcrackedputtyaswellas weatherstrippingthatislooseordamaged.SwimmingPoolYourpoolshouldbethoroughlycleanedbefore youleave.Itisimportanttomaintainthepool regularly.Areliablepoolmaintenanceserviceshould checkevery7to10daystomakesurethepoolpH andchemicalbalancearecorrect.Untreatedor under-treatedwillresultinalgaegrowth.Donot drainpoolasthesuncandryitoutandcauseitto crack.Ifthereisconsiderablerain,pressurecan buildupoutsidetheemptypoolcausingittocrack.ShrubberyandLawnRegulartrimmingandmowingmustbearranged tokeepplantsfromtakingover.SECURITYCONSIDERATIONSWhenyouwillbeawayfromyourhomeforeither ashortorlongperiod,itpaystoplanforprotection ofyourhomeandpossessionsfromburglarsor intruders. Fiveimportantconsiderationsare1)discouraging theinterestofburglars,2)inhibitingentryintoyour homebyanintruder,3)disruptingabreak-inwhenit ishappening,4)protectingvaluablesleftinyour home,5)coveringpotentialburglarylosses.Itiswise tobecomefriendsofneighborswhomaybeathome duringyourabsence.Youcantrade-offhelpingto protecteachother'shomesandmakeyourneighborhoodmoresecure. Ifyouliveinacondominiumorplannedcommunity,somesecuritymaybeprovided.Knowwhat isprovidedandmakearrangementstocoveryour responsibilities.DiscourageInterestofBurglarsThebestdefenseisprevention.Bothamateur andprofessionalburglarsarelikelytobypasshouses thatappeartohaveactiveresidentsathome.Your houseshouldhavealived-inlook. Mail,newspapersandotherdeliveriesshouldbe stoppedorpromptlypickedupbyafriendor neighbor. Acarparkedinthedriveorcarportdiscourages burglars.Afriendorneighbormayagreeto leavehisorhercarinyourdrive. Don'tdisconnectyourphone.Someanswering/messagemachinescanbeaccessedbylong distancetopickupmessages.Youcaneven changeyourmessagetothecallerfromlong distance. Severallightswithinahomeshouldbeplacedon timerstosimulatemovementwithinthehouse suggestingnormalactivities. Outsidelightingandtrimmedshrubberyshould providenighttimevisibilityofwindowsanddoors fromthestreetandotherhousesinthe neighborhood. Outsidelightsleftonduringthedaymaysignal thatyouaregoneforanextendedperiod. Don'tleavecluesthatyouaretobeaway.Don't announceyourplansinthenewspaperortalk aboutitcasuallyinpublicplaces. Windowtreatmentsshouldnotmakethehouse lookclosed-up,butshouldnotpermiteasy viewingofvaluableswithinthehomesuchas electronicequipmentandcameras.InhibitingEntrybyanIntruderIf,inspiteofyoureffortstomakeyourhouse looklived-in,aburglardecidestotrytobreakin,don't makeiteasy. Alldoorsshouldhavesecurelocks;adeadboltor jimmy-prooflockoneachdoor. Glasspanelsindoorsornexttodoorsshouldbe shatterproofordoubleglazed. Locksindoorswithglazedwindowsorside panelsshouldincludeonethatcanbeopened fromtheinterioronlybyakey.Thekeyshould notbeleftinthelock.

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HowtoCloseYourFloridaHome Page6 Slidingglassdoorsshouldhaveabolt-typelockto preventitsbeingliftedoutofitstrackplusa jammingbarintheinsidetrack.Glassinsliding glassdoorsshouldbeshatterproof,doubleglazed orhaveabreak-resistantplasticsheeting. Clearplasticfilmonwindowscanmakethem moredimiculttobreakandslowtheprogressof aburglar.DisruptingaBreak-InElectronicormechanicaldoorandwindowalarms canfrightenaburglarawayifyourhouseisclose enoughtoneighborsforthealarmstobeheard. Perimetersensorsystems,window-foilorglass breakagesensorswillhelpinthesameway. Housealarmsystemstoinhibittheprogressof burglarsincludeundercarpetsensinadevices,passive infrared,ultrasonic,microwaveandphotoelectric beamalarmsystems.Themoresensitiveandreliable alarmsystemsarelikelytocostmore.Lookforthe UnderwritersLaboratoriessealofapprovalfora systemthathasbeentestedforperformanceand safety.ProtectingValuablesBurglarsareeagertotakeitemsthathaveaready marketvalue.Thevalueofitemsdropswhenthese itemshaveidentificationandcanbetracedto tht-originalowner. Valuablessuchasjewelry,watchesandother itemsshouldnotbeleftbehindwhenyouleave. Placetheminasafetydepositbox. Cameras,electronics,silverandappliancesshould haveyoursocialsecuritynumber,carlicensenumber ornameengravedonthebottom.Engraving equipmentcanfrequentlybeborrowedfromyour policedepartment.ParticipantsintheOperation IdentificationEngravingprogramreceivewindow stickersannouncingthatpossessionsaremarked. Thiswillinhibitmostburglars.CoveringPotentialBurglaryLossesMosthomeowners'policiesprovidesome protectionagainstburglary.Don'ttakeyour insuranceforgranted.Checktoseeiftheftprotectionisprovidedandifyourvaluableswillbe adequatelycovered. Ifalistofitemsisrequired,providethatlist. Makesureyoumeetallrequirements.Checkthefine printtobesureofyourprotection. Whetherornotitisrequired,itmaybewiseto havewell-lighted,clearphotographsorpicturesof itemsthatwouldbecostlyordifficulttoreplace.