A fun-filled vacation can quickly turn sour if you have to come back home to problems or situations that you could have avoided in the first place. Don’t let the excitement of your trip blind you to potential risks; just make sure you’re not leaving your home as it is.
Here’s a checklist for you so you can prepare your home for a long vacation.
1) Tidy Up
This does sound boring, but a bit of tidying up will reap rewards when you return from your trip. By getting chores done before you escape routine life, you won’t have to keep thinking about having to do them once you get back home.
Check these chores off your list: dust surfaces, vacuum carpets, clean up corners and dispose the garbage. Also, flush the garbage disposal and sinks with a solution of vinegar and water, and pour some chlorine in toilet bowls to avoid bacteria build-up.
2) Put the Mail and Newspaper on Hold
A pile of newspapers and junk mail lying outside the doorstep is a clear indicator of a vacant house. Don’t draw attention from burglars and trespassers; suspend mail and newspaper service about 3 days before your departure.
Note that you can either put your mail on hold or get it forwarded. If you have friendly neighbors, ask them to keep an eye on newspaper drops as they might keep getting delivered even after you stop them.
3) Target the Refrigerator
This is one household appliance that consumes a lot of energy, so do yourself a favor by turning it off if you’re going away for a month or more. Consume, donate, or throw away all the food that’s lying in your fridge. Unplug the refrigerator and clean the inside with some baking soda mixed in water. You can also leave an open packet of baking soda inside the fridge to absorb odors and deter the growth of mold and mildew.
Alternatively, if you’re going to be back in a couple of weeks, leave the fridge on to keep foods palatable. If your fridge has an ice maker, turn that off.
4) Save Electricity
Appliances suck up power even when they’re not in use, so give them a break while you’re enjoying yours. Unplug all appliances in your house; don’t forget kitchen appliances like your coffee maker! Furthermore, turn off air conditioners or set the thermostat to a slightly warmer setting. If your water heater has a vacation mode, turn it on, or simply lower the temperature down by a few degrees.
5) Turn off the Main Water Supply
Your sinks, washing machine, and dishwasher don’t need water while you’re away, so don’t set yourself up for major expenses in the form of repairs. While your home might not have any leaks right now, don’t leave anything to chance. If you don’t want to come back to a flooded home, remember to turn off the main water supply before you leave for your vacation.
6) Schedule Lights
Turning off all the lights might seem to be the ideal solution when you’re going away on a long vacation. However, by doing so, you’ll only make the job easier for burglars! Invest in timers and set them such that the lights in your house turn on and off at various times. The least you can do is to install outdoor lights with motion sensors – these do an excellent job of deterring thieves.
7) Take Safety Measures
Apart from scheduling lights and making sure you lock up all doors and windows properly, do take additional safety measures to keep troubles at bay while you’re vacationing. Lock up valuables in a safe deposit box, and ensure smoke and burglar alarms are working and set properly. A good idea is to call your alarm company representative, letting them know that you’ll be away for a long time. [editor – I have a wireless video security system which is pretty affordable]
If you have a garage, park your car inside and lock it up. If you are parking at the airport make reservations ahead of time. Let your neighbors know you’re going to be away, and give them your phone number so they can reach you, if need be.
Vacations are meant to help you relax and unwind, but if you don’t prepare for the fun, you can end up having a hard time instead. Don’t let a lack of preparation spoil your much-awaited long holiday. Just use these tips to prepare your home before you leave for your vacation and you’re sure to have an amazing time.