Getting ready to go on vacation? Your suitcase isn’t the only thing you need to get ready.
If you’re planning on vacating your house for a couple days or more, make sure it’s in tip-top shape before you leave. Because if you don’t, you might be met with a high utility bill, a plumbing leak, a burglary, or even (gulp!) a house fire when you get back home.
Hold down your fort by following these 12 things to do before leaving for vacation:
- Toss old food. Go through your refrigerator and chuck anything that will expire before you’re back from your trip so that you don’t open the door to smelly odors and messy shelves. Also, ensure your counters, cupboards, and pantry are free from crumbs or opened food containers, as those could invite bugs or other unwelcome guests.
- Turn up the temp. Your air conditioner eats up about half your electrical bill each year. Cut those costs down by turning your thermostat up to 85 degrees. That’s about as high as you can go without damaging your plants, furniture, or other possessions.
- Turn off the water. Avoid a plumbing leak by turning off your water at the main shut-off valve (as long as other utilities, such as an ice-maker or sprinkler system, don’t rely on it). Also, if your water heater has a “vacation” mode, switch to that setting to save even more on your electrical bill.
- Clear downspouts, gutters, and drains. Make sure there’s nothing blocking these areas so that rainwater doesn’t seep up under your siding and flood your basement.
- Unplug appliances and electrical devices. This is another great way to cut electrical costs. Don’t forget your computer, TV, or other large devices–not only do they run up your electric bill a lot quicker, they’re also more prone to power surges, which can spark a fire. (If you have a surge protector, turn all the switches to off.)
- Be smart about safety. Make sure all doors and windows are locked, window glass is repaired, and spare keys are removed. All this might seem like common sense, but thieves gain easy entry more often than you think.
- Prep the security system. If you’ve got one, notify your security company you’ll be away, and put someone you trust in charge of all the necessary security info in case anything were to happen while you’re gone. Be sure you test the alarm before you leave, too, and replace the battery if needed.
- Test smoke detectors. This goes without saying. A house fire is the very last thing you want to deal with, especially after a relaxing week at the lake. Test and replace the batteries in all smoke detectors in your home for your own peace of mind.
- Keep the light on. It might be tempting to turn off all your lights to save electricity, but a dark house is a dead giveaway for burglars. Keep at least one lamp lit–preferably one you can see from the road–and if you have security lights, set them to variable timers. (Pro tip: Use CFL bulbs, which are long-lasting and energy-saving).
- Cancel all deliveries. Have your mail held while you’re gone — sign up online here. Be sure to cancel your newspaper subscriptions, garbage pickup, and package deliveries as well. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, you can also ask a friend to pick them up for you. (It’s a good idea to have someone come check on the house every so often, anyway.)
- Mow the lawn. Trim your lawn before you leave, as overgrown grass can attract the attention of thieves. If you’ll be gone a while, recruit a neighbor to maintain it for you.
- Trim tree limbs. If you have branches that hover over your house, prune them down. You never know when a summer storm might roll through and cause serious water damage.
What to Do When You Come Home to Water or Fire Damage
Water damage is never fun to deal with — let alone when it happens while you’re away on vacation.
If you come home to water damage and don’t know what to do, contact us at INTEK. We have a 24-hour emergency water damage restoration service, so we can begin cleaning the moment damage is detected. Once we’ve done our job, your property will look exactly like its original condition.
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Maybe it’s not water damage you’re dealing with–maybe it’s fire. We hope you never have to experience a fire in your home, but if you do, give us a call. We have over 25 years of experience in handling fire damage restoration for both residential and commercial properties, so you can be sure your home (and its contents) are safe with us. Click the button below to see our impressive before and after pictures.
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Our fingers are crossed that you don’t have to deal with any of these stressful situations. On behalf of the entire INTEK team, we hope you have a happy and safe vacation this summer!