(Photo credit seattlepi.com)
Imagine coming home after the holiday travel season to expensive damage that happened while you were away. The winter weather and other elements often damage homes that are left unprepared while vacant while the homeowners are traveling. These important proactive projects will help prevent loss and devastation from occurring while you’re away.
Heating and Fireplace
Protect electronics, house plants and pipes (more on that below), by setting the right temperature in your home. Too cold and you can see damage, too warm and you’ll rack up your utility bill. Keep your thermostat set between 50 and 60 degrees to prevent appliances from working too hard. If you are leaving pets at home, along with the proper care you’ll need from a trusted friend to check in on them, make sure you leave your home at a comfortable temperature. You’ll want to keep your home warmer than 60 degrees; for specific information contact your veterinarian.
If you have a traditional wood fireplace, make sure it is completely cooled and cleaned out before you leave. Close the damper to prevent warm indoor air for escaping. If you need your fireplace inspected or repaired, call a fireplace contractor.
Frozen and Leaking Pipes
Does your bathroom sink have a small trickle? This little leak can add up costs while you’re away. Do a complete inspection of all faucets to ensure you’re covered.
If no one is staying in your home while you’re away, turn off the main valve. Shutting the valve off will help prevent major damage should a pipe burst or faucet leak. Keeping your home at the suggested temperature (50-60 degrees) will help prevent pipes from freezing, and ultimately bursting.
If you haven’t winterized your outdoor pipes yet, make sure to insulate exposed pipes with rubber or fiberglass sleeves. Remove hoses and cover the spigots.
Contact Pac West Plumbing to have any leaks repaired before you leave, and get more information about how they can help solve and prevent future plumbing problems.
Think you’ll save money by just being out of your house for several days? Try again. Computers, coffee pots and lamps are just a few examples of electronics that suck energy even when not in use. Unplug these items while you’re away to actually see cost savings. Just don’t unplug your refrigerator!
Security and Safety
Keep an outdoor light on or invest in a motion-sensor light to help deter someone from breaking into your home. Put your mail and newspapers on hold as to not tip off any criminals that the house is empty. Leave a key with a trusted friend to check in on your home and inspect any possible damage or security breaches.