Whether going down to the shore for a long weekend or taking that long planned vacation trip, here are some practical steps to protect your home from damage while you are away. This easy vacation checklist for home maintenance will help to ensure your peace of mind while you are away.
Some of these tips may be familiar, some may be new to you!
- Set the air conditioner to 85 degrees. This way you will save on cooling your unoccupied home, while protecting your belongings from damage caused by excessive heat and humidity (e.g. melting candles, warping pictures, spoiled dry goods). You should also lower the settings on your water heater to vacation mode.
- Prepare for inclement weather. A sudden summer storm can cause power outages, flooding and damage from flying debris. Make sure gutters are cleared of debris. Check seals on windows and doors. Take down outdoor umbrellas and secure patio furniture and other items that can easily topple.
- Clean out your refrigerator. If the power goes out, you do not want to come home to rotting food. Empty your freezer of ice cream, ice cubes, and other easily melting items that will cause messy drips and leaks.
- Turn off electronic equipment, including computers, as well as small appliances. Not only will you save energy, but you will reduce the risk of energy spikes, which can destroy equipment.
- Shut off the main water supply and check the sump pump. This will allow you to protect your home from possible flood damage. Turn off the ice maker in the refrigerator so the motor does not burn out from trying to make ice with no water.
- Avoid telltale signs that you are away. Ask a friend or neighbor to collect the mail, newspapers and fliers. If you will be away for more than a few days, arrange for your lawn to be mowed. Allow a friend to park in your driveway.
- Use light timers in two or three rooms. Timers can also be used to turn on a radio or television to create a more realistic impression that someone is home. The timing pattern should simulate occupancy. There are many mobile apps available that let you set the timers remotely.
- Look at your home from the outside. Partially close all curtains or blinds to ensure that nobody can look in. Leave upstairs curtains open while first floor drapes shut. Make sure valuables are not visible from the street.
- Don’t forget about your house plants. Be sure to give them a good watering before your trip. If you can’t find someone to keep them watered, place houseplants in a bathtub with a few inches of water. Bring container plants indoors and place in saucers with water so they stay hydrated.
- Save your vacation Tweets and Instagrams for your return. Sharing your vacation activities on social media lets the world know that you are away from home.
- Give a house key to a neighbor or family member. Ask them to stop in and check the house while you are away, especially if you know there has been harsh weather. Make sure they know how to contact you in the event of an emergency. Check in with them a few times while you are away.
Vacation is supposed to be a time to relax and refresh. You will enjoy yourself more when you know that your home is safe and secure. What are your favorite tips to vacation-proof your house?