Tips for Snowbirds in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Are you a snowbird with a home or condo in Fort Lauderdale? For those who do not know what a snowbird is, it is commonly defined as a northerner who moves to a warmer southern state just for the winter months.

After enjoying the warmth and beauty that living in Fort Lauderdale offered you, are you forced to head home because of immigration or because there’s no place like home and you love the cooler summer months up North? Well, here are some tips, advice and information for snowbird retirees (and non-retirees) who plan to travel home or to cooler destinations during the summer months.

Mail and Magazines – What Do I Do with Them?

Arrange for a mail hold, or mail forwarding, depending on how long you plan to be away. One local option is The UPS Store located at 401 East Las Olas Boulevard. They offer mail services that begins with a legal and prestigious Las Olas mailing address (small mailbox) where they will gather your mail and/or packages and send them to you while you’re away for an extended period of time. You determine the frequency. Also you can have up to three names on the mailbox (any combination of personal/business). They can also remove junk mail prior to sending. All financial documents such as bank statements, credit card statements, etc. can be forwarded to you. Just specify your needs and they’ll send you the tracking number. Many use this mailbox service year-round for both personal and business mail. Mention this article and when you sign-up for a three month agreement, you will get an additional three months for free. Another option is using USPS’ “Premium Forwarding Residential Service” which forwards EVERYTHING including junk mail, while any piece of mail that says something to the effect of “don’t forward this” or “return service requested” WON’T get forwarded If you have both residential and business names, you’ll have to also use the “Premium Forwarding Service Commercial.

Your Residence – Have it Monitored Frequently

Arrange for a part time caretaker for your property. Friend, relative, or paid service, someone needs to check on it frequently. Make sure they go through the whole house. Leave a phone number with a neighbor for emergency purposes (assuming you have a cordial relationship with a neighbor). If someone isn’t there every day, they won’t catch everything that could happen in your condo. A concierge will help deter a thief. If you don’t have a concierge, check with your local police department if they have a “vacation check program”, and if so, what it entails.

Appliances – What Do I Do with Them?

Cable or satellite boxes: Unplug, suspend, or turn off to avoid paying for energy you aren’t using. Water heater: Turn off the circuit breaker to the water heater. Small appliances and electronics: Unplug. For security reasons, you may want to place timers on indoor lamps. If you leave your broadband connected when away, you can use smart plugs to control table lamps. Dishwasher: Empty and leave the door open. Washing machine: Leave the lid open. Refrigerators: If you prefer to keep your refrigerator on, set it at its warmest setting. If your prefer to keep your refrigerator off, make sure to clean the interior with a solution of 1 tbsp. of baking soda in 1 quart of water, dry thoroughly and leave doors open. Turn off the circuit breaker to the refrigerator. Remove all food from the freezer and refrigerator, and leave the door(s) propped open. If you have an automatic ice maker, switch it to the “off” position. Pool: Set your pool pump to run no more than six hours a day and arrange for someone to check your pool’s chemical levels and water level while you’re away.

A/C Settings and Mold Prevention Steps

Change your A/C filter or wash it if it is washable. An accumulation of dirt plus the summer heat and humidity can lead to mildew and mold growth, which can spread through the house. For programmable or smart thermostats: Set your A/C to run at 72 degrees for just two hours each morning before sunrise and at 88 degrees for the remainder of the time. For non-programmable thermostats: Set your A/C to run at 80 degrees while you are away. If you live in a condo or apartment, set your A/C at 77 degrees. Set the controls of your humidistats and/or dehumidifiers to 58 percent RH to maintain acceptable humidity, since some humidistat sensors are inaccurate by as many as 10 percentage points. For maximum energy savings: Use portable dehumidifiers instead of air conditioning. Set dehumidifiers at 58 percent by sinks and showers, and use one for every 1,000 square feet. Be sure to place the dehumidifiers so the water runs into the shower or tub drain.
Open your closet and cabinet doors, just to keep fresh air moving in and out of those areas.