Preparing Your Home For Vacation
Nothing spoils a trip out of town like worrying about the state of things back home. A few of these tips and tricks, however, can help in preparing your home for vacation, and let you get back to worrying about all that relaxation you’ll get while you’re gone.
Make sure all doors and windows are locked up tight. If burglars think you’re out of town, they will look for easy access points before trying to break in by force.
Phone A Friend
Ask a trustworthy friend or neighbor to look after the place while you’re away. This could include picking up mail and newspapers, watering plants, and running the faucets and toilets occasionally to prevent clogged pipes. Provide them with contact information in case of emergency, and a thank you (cookies, a gift card) for the effort.
It might be tempting to shut off the air conditioning while out of town, but warm, stale air can cause mold or mildew to grow in just a few days. Set the thermostat between 82-85º to protect plants, furniture, and other belongings without running up the electricity bill while you’re away.
Most modern water heaters have a “vacation” mode that will run the machine occasionally, but not as often as when you’re at home. After a long trip, consider flushing the water heater out by letting it run until it is empty and allowing it to refill.
Don’t leave all the lights on while you’re away—a house lit up all night will raise suspicion and your electric bill. Instead, put one or two lamps on programmed timers to give the impression that someone is home.
Disconnect any electrical devices—computers, TVs, toasters, coffeemakers—that aren’t plugged into a surge protector. Switch all surge protectors off.
Throw out leftovers and items that will expire while you’re gone. If it’s going to be a long trip (i.e. more than a month), unplug the refrigerator, take everything out and prop the doors open, which will prevent mold by letting air circulate. Wipe down the inside after unplugging to prevent any standing water.
If you have a pool, continue to run the pump so that algae does not develop. Check the pump settings before you leave, and if you have a spa, turn off the heat.
Check all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the house to make sure they are functioning properly before you leave. If you have a home security system, notify the company that you will be out of town, and if your friend or neighbor will be checking on the house in the meantime.
Mow the lawn and trim any plants before leaving town to make the house look clean and occupied, and to prevent an eyesore for your neighbors. If the trip is going to be long-term, enlist a landscaping service to keep things looking fresh.