Preparing Your Home For an Extended Vacation – Don’t Forget These Tips!

The best reason for preparing your home before a long vacation is so you won’t spend valuable vacation time worrying about what’s happening back home. A vacation should be a relaxing escape from the routine concerns of daily life. Don’t ruin the occasion by fretting over events that might be occurring in your absence because you didn’t make proper preparations before you left. Many possible scenarios can be entirely prevented—or at least made very unlikely—by taking these simple steps before you leave.

  • Turn off the main water valve. A ruptured pipe is a bad event anytime. If it happens while you’re away for an extended period, it means catastrophic water damage. Check the location of your main water shutoff valve now and test it to verify that it turns freely. If it’s stubborn, don’t force it: call a plumber.
  • Program your thermostat. Most digital thermostats have a “Vacation” option that maintains the house at a consistent temperature, 24/7. In most cases, 55 to 60 degrees is recommended for an unoccupied house to avoid damage and reduce heating costs.
  • Set the water heater. Most gas-fired water heaters today also have a “Vacation” setting that keeps the water at a reduced temperature—usually around 50 degrees.
  • Put lights on a timer. Maintain a lived-in look to discourage potential trespassers. Set lights in different parts of the house on a timer and use the “Random” setting so lights aren’t turning on and off at the same time every day.
  • Maintain the lawn. If you’ll be gone long enough that grass grows noticeably in your absence, have the lawn cut while you’re away. Overgrown lawns announce that the house is vacant and attract burglars.
  • Leave contact info and a spare key. Give a trusted neighbor or nearby relative information about where you can be reached in case of an emergency. Also, consider leaving a key in the event access is required to the house for any reason.
  • Clean out the refrigerator. Any perishables that will spoil during the time frame you’re away should be discarded now, before you leave.

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