You have your tickets ready, your bags are packed, and your itinerary is set. But before you go, take some time to prepare your house for your trip as well. Whether you’re leaving for a few days or a couple of weeks, homes can sometimes malfunction in the absence of their owners. Here’s how to leave for vacation knowing your home will be waiting for you just as you left it.
Adjust Your Energy Consumption
Unplug any device that does not need to be connected to an energy source while you are gone, including televisions, computers, chargers, fans, coffee makers, and toasters.
Turn down your water heater to either the “vacation” or “pilot” setting, to prevent heating water you are not home to use. Turn up your air conditioner to 80-85 degrees so that cool air continues to run on the hottest days, but not at unnecessarily low temps.
Turn Off the Water Supply
What starts as a small leak can be devastating for your home. Cut your water supply while you’re gone to avoid flooding and damage. Turning off the main supply line will not affect your sprinklers, which you should ideally leave on so that a brown, neglected lawn doesn’t give away that you are out of town.
Lights, Camera, SECURITY!
If you don’t have someone coming in routinely to check on your house, consider purchasing timers to switch some of your home’s lights on and off at pre-set intervals. You might also add motion sensor lights around external entry points, such as the front, patio, and garage doors. A security camera can help you monitor your home even from afar.
Another option is to invest in a security system, and have a company install alarms, cameras, and locks for you.
Squash Your Bug Problem
Check your home for insects, rodents, and other pest problems. What might start as a few ants or one problematic mouse in your attic can quickly morph into a full-blown infestation while you are gone. Find a pest control service to treat your home and set out traps, poisons, or other deterrents for extra protection. (Note: if you have pets in your home check the user guidelines for safe usage of pest control products.)
Clean Before You Go
First, do a sweep through the fridge. Freeze food you want to save. Otherwise, anything that is close to expiring or will not keep while you are gone needs to be binned.
Take the trash out right before you leave. You do not want to come back to a garbage can where a two-week old half-eaten tuna fish sandwich has mingled with cat food scraps and dirty diapers.
Resolve any plumbing issues before you take off – you will want to come home to functioning toilets and showers.
Your future self will thank present you if you also take the time to clean the bathrooms, freshen up the sheets, and attend to the laundry before leaving. That way you can come home to a clean house, instead of a house that needs cleaning.
You want to take care of your home, even when you are away from it. Make sure to adjust your energy usage, secure your home from theft and pest threats, and give it a good scrub. You might also consider contacting the post office to hold your mail, stock your kitchen with non-perishable food options for your first meal back, and arranging for a pet sitter come over to check in on Spot and Fluffy.
Address Any Repair Issues
During your pre-vacation prep, you might encounter one or more issues with your home that need to be addressed before leaving. Check out Responsible Contractors’ listing for licensed, qualified professionals who will be happy to help you resolve your house’s needs so that you can enjoy your trip!