Getting Your Home Ready for Vacation

20 Jun

This time of year is when families schedule vacations. If you’re planning to spend a week or two away, you need to make sure that your home is ready for the time it will be vacant. Here are a few things you should do around your home before going on vacation.

Leave keys with a trustworthy neighbor

In addition to collecting mail, a neighbor can also take a quick walk through to make sure there are no big disasters, such as a burst pipe.

Stop delivery of mail and newspapers

Nothing says “We’re gone!” like a full mailbox and a few days’ worth of newspapers in the driveway. You can suspend mail delivery online and newspaper with a quick phone call.

Taking care of plants and pets

Because summer is the time when most people take vacation, kennels fill up quickly. Make sure to make your reservations as soon as your vacation plans are locked in. If you’re just going to be gone for a long weekend, plants are not that big of a deal. However, consider using a plant feeder if you’ll be away for an extended period of time.

Turn the air conditioner up, not off

Turning the A/C off is a welcome opportunity for your home to become humid. Removing the humidity from the house when you return means your unit will be working extra hard and a day or two that you’re not very comfortable in the house. Turn the thermostat up to 85 degrees. This is high enough that it will be easy to get your home back down to a comfortable temperature and keep the humidity out. When you return home, don’t turn the thermostat down to 65 to get it comfortable more quickly. Doing so could freeze the unit.

Put lights on a timer

There’s no need to advertise that you’re away and a dark home for consecutive days is like a full page ad in the newspaper. You can pick up a timer at most hardware and home improvement stores. Connect a timer to a few lights around the home and your television.

Turn off the water

Rather than turning off the supply to each individual sink and toilet, you can turn off the main supply to the house at one valve. This will ensure that you will not receive the unwelcome surprise of a burst pipe or leaking toilet when you get home.

Unplug electronics

On the final walk through, unplug the computers, televisions and any other accessories so they won’t be damaged in case of a surge caused by an electrical storm. If you have an automatic coffee maker, make sure it’s unplugged, too. Not only will this protect everything, it also helps save on energy consumption because many electronics and appliances use electricity simply by being plugged in.

Turn down your water heater

Check to see if your water heater has an idle or vacation setting. Turning a water heater back on after being shut off can cause some serious complications. Simply lower the temperature to save on energy.

Telephone etiquette

A constantly ringing phone is another indication that you’re away. Make sure that your phone will pick up on the first ring. You might also consider turning the ringer down.

Clear out the refrigerator

Vacation time is a good opportunity to take a hard look at the expiration dates on containers in your refrigerator. Discard anything that’s even close and make sure it goes out with the trash.

Speaking of trash

No one likes to walk into their home after vacation to an unpleasant odor. Collect trash from each room in the house and make sure it goes out. You’ll avoid a smelly welcome and keep your home free of bugs.

Give your house a quick cleaning

Yes, you’ve got a lot on your plate getting ready to go on vacation, but returning to a home free of clutter is a great welcome.

Close all blinds

This not only helps control the temperature and sunlight, it is also a deterrent to unwelcome eyes taking a look to see if you’re away.

Make sure to lock up everything

On your final walk-through, make sure all of the windows are locked. Check every entrance, including the garage door and basement. If you have a privacy fence, make sure to lock the gate.

Keeping your home safe gives you peace of mind while you’re on vacation. Once you have made it through the checklist, enjoy your vacation knowing your home will be ready and waiting upon return.

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