Vacation is a time meant for rest and relaxation. But that’s hard to do if you’re worrying about things back home. While it’s hard to eliminate the threat of bad things happening while out of town, taking proper steps to prepare and protect your home before departure can go a long way towards providing peace of mind.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at critical aspects of preparing your home before going on an extended vacation:
Water damage is a constant threat to the structural integrity of your home, especially when nobody’s there to shut it off. Those preparing to leave town for longer than a week should turn off the water valves connected to the dishwasher and washing machine. It’s also advisable to shut off water to all sinks in the house. Doing so all but eliminates the risk of water damage while you’re away.
Don’t leave the house without setting the thermostat to a temperature close to that outside. Generally speaking, setting it to 60 F/15.5 C in the winter and 80 F/ 26.6 C in the summer will prevent the system from becoming overworked in your absence. It’s also a good idea to unhook small appliances and unplug any extra chargers. While the risk of fire is small, there’s the added benefit of saving on energy costs while on vacation.
It’s no secret that most burglars prefer to hit homes when the inhabitants are out of town. This makes an extended vacation the perfect opportunity for thieves to break in and steal your valuables. While a state-of-the-art alarm system is a great start, using strong safes and heavy-duty lockers will go further in preventing a home burglary from ruining your vacation. For example, someone with a collection of firearms should make sure every weapon is inside a secure gun storage locker before they leave town. Smaller valuables, like jewelry and cash, can be kept inside floor safes hidden beneath a rug or underneath heavy furniture.
Another effective means of thwarting would-be thieves is to trick them into thinking your home is occupied when it’s not. Simply having a neighbor park their car in your driveway a few nights of the week can be enough to make people think someone’s home. Travelers can go further and use timers throughout the house to have lights go on and off during the day and night.
Mail piling up is another dead giveaway that someone isn’t home. Either temporarily halt mail service to your house or ask a neighbor to come to collect it on your behalf. Travelers may also want to consider signing up for a virtual mail service, which collects mail for you and send scans via email. This is a good idea for those who want to read and respond to mail while still on vacation.
Make sure to throw away any opened containers of food you have in the refrigerator or cupboard. Failure to do so can result in a variety of problems ranging from bug infestation to mold taking over the inside of your fridge. While wasting food is never a good thing, it’s better than the alternative.
The last thing you want to do is return from vacation to the smell of decaying garbage, all because you forgot to take out the trash before you left. Make sure to remove all garbage from the house prior to departure. Go further by spraying the inside of trash cans with disinfectant spray before replacing the liners. Those with garbage disposals should also consider pouring baking soda and vinegar into the drain, waiting five minutes, and running the disposal prior to their trip. This reduces the chances of bad smells radiating from the drain upon your return.
An extended vacation is a wonderful opportunity to explore the world at your own pace. However, it’s hard to focus on fun and excitement if you’re worried sick about something back home. The best way to keep this from happening is to take appropriate steps to prepare your home before leaving town. That way, after enjoying your stress-free vacation, you get to come back to a drama-free house.