With school out, it is prime time for family vacations. You’ve put so much care and planning into your travel plans, but before you leave for a lounger on the beach or a cabin in the mountains, don’t forget to get your home ready for vacation too!
Here are twelve steps you can take to ensure your home remains safe, clean, and in working order while you’re gone:
- Turn Off Your Water Supply
To prevent water leaks from happening while you’re gone, you may want to consider shutting off your water supply. It takes a little time, but it could save you thousands of dollars and even more time spent repairing water damage.
- Unplug Your Electronics
If your computer, TV, and other electronics are plugged into wall outlets and not surge protectors, unplug them in case of a power surge. Here in Texas, especially, the weather can be unpredictable. You never know when a bad storm could blow in. You wouldn’t want to come home from a relaxing vacation to find you have to buy a new computer! This could also save you some money on your electric bill as some devices still drain power even when turned off.
- Turn Up Your AC
It may seem like a good idea to shut your HVAC unit off entirely while you’re out of town. You’d save a lot in electricity while you’re gone, right? But it’s actually a very bad idea. Your unit (and electricity) will need to work overtime to bring the temperature back down once you are home; plus, your HVAC unit keeps your home ventilated, controlling dust, allergens, mold, and humidity. Instead, turn your thermostat up by five degrees. This will keep your unit from running as often, conserving energy, yet keep the air circulating properly and make it easier to cool the house down upon your return.
- Open Your Vents
Check all your air vents to make sure they are open. For your HVAC system to operate under optimal conditions, nothing should be obstructing proper air flow.
- Have Your Mail Held
With the increase of mail thefts lately, you don’t want to leave your mail sitting in your mailbox or on your front porch for days at a time. If you don’t have a friend, family member, or neighbor who can check your mail each day, call the USPS and ask them to hold it until you get back.
- Put Your Lights on a Timer
Don’t tip off a burglar that you aren’t home by either leaving lights on or leaving the house dark the entire time you’re gone. Instead, put a few lights throughout the home on timers, which can be purchased inexpensively at your local home supply store. Program them to turn on at a time lights would normally be on if the house were occupied. And be sure not to set them to all turn on and turn off at the same time—any potential burglars casing the neighborhood won’t fall for it!
- Check Your Windows
Not only do you not want to leave an open or unlocked window available to intruders but securing your windows will also reduce the amount of heat getting inside your home, aiding your HVAC unit and electric bill.
- Keep Blinds and Curtains the Way They Are
Leave your blinds and curtains the way you normally have them when you are home. Leaving the house in an unnatural state will tip off any watching thieves that you aren’t there. If you are concerned about valuable items being visible from the windows, move them out of sight.
- Don’t Leave a Spare Key Outside
Why leave a key where anyone can find it? Whether you hide it in a fake rock or under the door mat, a burglar is likely to find it. Instead, leave a key with whatever friend or neighbor needs access to your home while you’re away.
- Seal Food
You’ve gone through the trouble to protect your home against human intruders, but don’t forget to protect against non-human intruders as well! Don’t leave food out on the counter, and make sure all pantry items are well sealed. You don’t want to go to pour a bowl of cereal and find that a roach made himself at home in your breakfast.
- Take Out the Trash
There’s nothing like coming home to the pungent smell of garbage that’s been left in the trash can too long. Not only does the trash stink up the house, this garbage also acts as an attractive food source for pests. Make sure all your trash cans have been emptied before you leave town!
- Clean the House
It may be tempting to put off the cleaning for whenever you get home, but if you put in the extra effort to clean your house beforehand, it will pay off in the long run! After a relaxing vacation, you don’t want to come home to a mess that will steal your relaxed feeling and leave you stressed instead. Plus, eliminating dust and grime from your furniture and floors will help keep pest away and help your HVAC unit run better.
Are you planning a vacation this summer? We’d love to hear about your plans in the comments!