Do: Clean out your fridge and take out your garbage
Nothing smells worse than spoiled milk left in the fridge for weeks or rotting food left to sit in the trash. You don’t want to come home to a stinky house! Make yourself a note to empty the trash. And, if needed, ask a neighbor to set out your garbage can on trash day.
Do: Arrange for someone to take care of your yard.
Hire someone to cut your grass and water your yard while you are away. If you have a sprinkler system in place, ask them to monitor it for leaks or problems. Don’t forget to have them water your flowers and plants too.
Don’t: Leave electronics plugged in while not in use.
Unplugging electronics reduces electric consumption and energy costs. Even if the amount of money saved does not necessarily seem worth it, remember that unplugging electronics can also increase the life of your devices. It can also protect your devices in the event of a terrible storm. What should you unplug? Any devices with a “standby mode,” such as televisions and computers; small appliances,like toasters and coffee makers, and your modem and/or routers, to name a few.
Do: Put lights on timers
Light switch timers work like they sound. They turn your lights off and on automatically at programmed times. These timers can be purchased at any home improvement store or online. Many of them cost less than $20, making them a cheap way to protect your home.
Do: Double check that doors and windows are closed and locked
Take a quick run through your house to make sure all windows and doors have been closed and locked. Be sure to check those little used areas, such as the basement door or the entry door through the garage.
Don’t: Forget to program your thermostat
You don’t want to cool down a house that sits idle; you also don’t want to come back to an uncomfortably hot house. A house that is too hot can cause numerous problems, including warped furniture and damaged electronics.The solution? Program your thermostat to vacation mode. Vacation mode allows you to set a control temperature, one that is not too hot nor too cold. Most programmable thermostats allow you to check them remotely, so you can change the settings as needed while away. Contact us if you need help finding an HVAC technician to install a programmable thermostat for you.
Do: Prepare for potential water issues
No one wants to walk in from vacation and find a house flooded and potentially thousands of dollars in water damage. The easiest solution is to turn off your water main before you leave town. In order to do this, you need to find the main water supply valve. Usually, this valve can be found in your basement or crawl space. After you turn off your water, set your hot water heater to vacation mode as well. If it does not have a vacation mode, select a lower temperature so that it will not cycle on and off so often.
Do: Hold your mail through the USPS office.
If you plan to be gone longer than a few days, hold your mail, so it does not pile up and/or is not returned to sender. The process is quite simple. Create an account on the US Postal website. Once you have an account, enter the dates you need your mail held. You can have your mail held for up to one month. The site also allows you to choose whether you want the held mail delivered to you or whether you want to pick it up.
Do: Ask a neighbor or a friend to keep an eye on your house
A good neighbor can offer another set of eyes to watch out for your property while you are gone. They can help keep you alert about any potential issues, including weather damage or problems in the neighborhood. It’s also a good idea to give someone an extra key to your house, so they can do a quick check-in for you.
Don’t: Announce your vacation on social media
I know, I know; you want to share pics and stories from your fun vacation. You want the world to know the memories you are making. It seems obvious, but you need to be mindful of your audience. If you are going to share on social media, make sure your privacy settings only give your info to people you want — and trust– to see it.