Summer vacations are a time to relax, unwind, and create lasting memories with family and friends. However, before you embark on your well-deserved getaway, it’s crucial to prepare your home for your absence.
Taking a few simple steps to secure and maintain your home can provide peace of mind and ensure a stress-free vacation. In this blog post, we will explore ten essential tasks that will help you prepare your home for a summer vacation, allowing you to enjoy your time away without worrying about your property.
Why Itâ€™s Important To Prepare Your Home
A vacation should be an exciting experience. If youâ€™re worrying about whatâ€™s going on at your house, it can ruin your mood during a trip. By taking the time to prepare, youâ€™ll reduce the risk of major issues, break-ins, or severe damage – peace of mind on your trip. While not all of these steps are essential, theyâ€™re a good starting point before you hit the road.
Notify Trusted Neighbors or Friends
Informing a trusted neighbor or friend about your vacation plans is a vital first step. Share your contact information with them and ask if they would be willing to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. They can notify you of any suspicious activities or emergencies that may arise during your absence.
Secure Doors and Windows
Before leaving, double-check that all doors and windows are securely locked. Consider installing deadbolt locks for added security. Sliding doors can be reinforced with a metal bar or rod to prevent forced entry. For windows, use window locks or place wooden dowels in the tracks to prevent them from being opened from the outside.
Protect Your Vehicles
Leaving your car sitting and exposed to the elements is less than ideal, so if you have a garage, itâ€™s wise to keep your car inside of it while youâ€™re away. If a garage isnâ€™t an option, consider buying a cover for it to keep it clean and dry.
Additionally, if you have a trusted neighbor or family friend watching your home, you might want to ask them to start your car once a week. It will help keep your battery and engine from having issues later down the road.
Some other tips include:
- Fill your gas tank if youâ€™re going to be gone longer than 30 days. The gas prevents moisture from accumulating and the seals drying out.
- Clean your car before you leave because water stains, bird droppings, grease, or tar left on the car and in the sun can become more permanent issues.
- Itâ€™s a good idea to change your oil if youâ€™re going to be gone for over a month as contaminants from old oil can damage the engine.
Set Timers for Lights
Creating the illusion that your home is occupied can deter potential burglars. Invest in timers for your indoor and outdoor lights. Set them to turn on and off at different times to mimic your usual patterns. This simple trick can give the impression that someone is home, deterring any unwanted attention.
Unplug Non-Essential Electronics
To save energy and prevent potential electrical hazards, unplug non-essential electronics before you leave. Items like televisions, computers, chargers, and small appliances should be disconnected. This not only reduces the risk of power surges or electrical fires but also helps to reduce your energy bill.
Adjust Thermostat and Appliances
Save energy and maintain a comfortable temperature while you’re away by adjusting your thermostat. Raise it higher in the summer to avoid unnecessary cooling costs. If you have perishable food in your refrigerator, consume or donate it to avoid waste. Clean out the fridge and leave the door slightly ajar to prevent unpleasant odors.
Stop Mail and Newspaper Deliveries
A pile of newspapers or an overflowing mailbox is a clear sign that nobody is home. Contact your local post office to temporarily halt mail delivery or ask a neighbor to collect it for you. Similarly, inform your newspaper delivery service to suspend deliveries until your return. Maintaining an appearance of activity can help discourage potential thieves.
Arrange for Lawn Care
Overgrown lawns and neglected gardens are telltale signs of an empty home, and they can be a problem with your HOA too. Hire a lawn care service or ask a trusted neighbor to mow your lawn, water plants, and maintain the yard while you’re away. This not only keeps your property looking well-cared for but also gives the impression that someone is present.
Check Home Security Systems
Ensure that your home security system is in proper working order before you leave. Test the alarms, motion sensors, and surveillance cameras to make sure they are functioning correctly. Thankfully, modern door cameras and wi-fi powered surveillance makes monitoring from afar much easier than in the past.
If you have a security company monitoring your home, inform them about your vacation dates. Additionally, consider posting signs or stickers indicating the presence of a security system to deter potential intruders.
Protect Your Pipes
Prevent potential water damage by turning off the main water supply or individual valves to appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers. In case of unexpected leaks, this precautionary step can help minimize the extent of the damage. It’s also a good idea to drain your hot water heater if you plan to be away for an extended period.
Leave Emergency Contact Information
Finally, leave a list of emergency contact numbers and relevant information for your trusted neighbor or friend who is keeping an eye on your home. Include your contact details, as well as the contact information of a local plumber, electrician, or other service providers who may need to be contacted in case of emergencies.
Taking the time to prepare your home for a summer vacation is an investment in your peace of mind. By following these ten essential steps, you can minimize potential risks and enjoy a worry-free holiday.
Remember to inform trusted neighbors, secure doors and windows, set timers for lights, unplug electronics, adjust your thermostat, and stop mail and newspaper deliveries. Additionally, arrange for lawn care, check your home security systems, protect your pipes, and leave emergency contact information.
With these preparations in place, you can relax and enjoy your well-deserved vacation knowing that your home is safe and secure.