It’s that time of year where we get ready to travel to see family and friends. More people are expected to travel this year than the last few when COVID kept many of us homebound. As you are getting ready, buying plane tickets, and making fun plans, don’t forget to prepare your home for your absence so you don’t come home to an unpleasant (or devastating!) surprise.
Make sure your home looks occupied while you are gone.
If you won’t have someone staying at your house while you are gone, you should do what you can to make it appear occupied, so you aren’t an easy target for thieves. Obviously, you want to lock your doors and windows, but consider setting programmable lights indoors and turning on any motion-activated outdoor lights too. Close your blinds too, and don’t hide any house keys near your door.
Prepare for potential bad weather.
You have no idea what the weather will bring while you are gone, so it is best to prepare for the worst. If you haven’t done it in a while, have your roof inspected and fix anything that needs repairs before you leave. Clean your gutters and trim back any tree limbs hanging over or near your house. Secure patio furniture that could be blown into your home in heavy winds too.
Turn off the water to your house.
You definitely don’t want to return to a flooded house and all the issues it creates. Locate the main water shut-off valve, turn it off and run your kitchen and bathroom faucets until they are dry. Flush each toilet and turn off the water at the base of each one to prevent mold from growing inside the bowl.
Unplug most of your appliances.
Returning to a flooded house is bad but returning to one that had a fire is even worse. Electrical storms can cause power outages and surges, so the fewer things you have plugged in while you are away, the better. Before you head out, walk around your home and unplug anything that doesn’t need to be on, including cable boxes, computers, televisions, kitchen appliances (except the big ones like the refrigerator), and anything that you won’t need while you are gone. This will help reduce your power bill too.
Clean your house.
It may seem a bit silly to clean before you go, but there are a few things you should definitely do. Remove any food from your fridge that may spoil while you are gone. Empty your dishwasher and leave the door open so it can dry out. Check that there are no clothes in your washer or dryer that can mold while you are gone. Clean your garbage disposal by running a half-cup of vinegar and water through it (add lemon too for a nicer scent) to avoid coming home to an awful – and lingering – smell. And take out all your trash before you leave.
Don’t forget to put your mail on hold, set your thermostat to vacation mode and let a neighbor know you will be gone so they can keep an eye out for anything awry. Now go have a wonderful time with the knowledge that you have done all you can to protect your home while you are galivanting around.