Returning home after a well-deserved break, only to discover a flooded laundry room or kitchen is not how most people want to end their vacation. Follow these simple steps to avoid coming home to a big mess and costly repairs.
1. Turn off the water
Water leaks can cause devastating damage to your home in a short amount of time. A failed hose connection, plumbing fixture, pipe fitting, or appliance can leak gallons of water in no time, resulting in costly repairs.
- Turn the main water supply off completely unless someone will be watering plants or pet sitting in your absence. Turn off the individual water supply to sinks, toilets, and washing machine.
Most hoses that come standard with new washing machines are low quality, often lasting less than five years. High quality burst proof replacement hoses, such as those available at Floodchek, can be purchased for around $40. This small investment can potentially save thousands of dollars in damages.
2. Unplug appliances and electronics
Defective household appliances, electronics, and wiring can be a fire hazard. Some are also prone to damage from power surges. In addition to fire risk and damage they can draw power and waste electricity, even when not in use.
- Unplug kitchen appliances and household electronics like the TV, DVD player, and computer.
- Ensure electrical outlets are not overloaded.
- Replace damaged or frayed electrical cords, plugs, and power strips.
- Turn down heat or air-conditioning to conserve energy or turn it off completely if practical.
3. Secure your home
Nothing speaks louder to a potential intruder than an overgrown lawn or newspapers piled on the porch. Secure your home by taking some simple steps to make it look lived in during your absence.
- If you have a home security system, contact the service provider with the dates you will be gone and how best to reach you in case of emergency. Instruct the house sitter how to operate the system.
- Place a hold on mail and newspaper delivery. Visit the United States Postal Service website to cease mail delivery for the dates you specify.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye out for door flyers or packages. If possible, ask the neighbor to park their car in your driveway.
- If leaving garbage bins out to be emptied, arrange for someone to remove them from the curb once the garbage is collected.
- Arrange for the grass to be cut in your absence.
- Store tools and ladders out of sight and lock outdoor shed or storage area.
- Remove outdoor spare keys.
- Keep trees and bushes trimmed away from windows and doorways.
- Install timers for interior and exterior lights and set them to mimic your regular habits.
- Ensure all windows and doors are locked, including basement windows and the door from the garage leading into the house.
- Move expensive electronics, jewelry, etc out of sight from windows and doors. Secure valuables in a home safe or safe deposit box.
- Leave a house key, contact information, and itinerary with a friend or neighbor.
- Notify the local police station with your plans so they can include your home on their neighborhood watch list.
4. Think before sharing
Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to publicly share personal information. It is very popular to share pictures and personal information of where we are, who we are with, and what we are up to. This information can then be shared with friends of friends, potentially hundreds or more often complete strangers.
- Think twice before publicly sharing pictures and trip highlights on social media while you are gone on vacation. It might be better to play it safe and wait until you return home.
- Keep the same greeting on your home phone and turn off the ringer. A ringing phone left unanswered is a tip to an intruder that no one is home.
5. Last but not least
- Throw out all perishable items in the refrigerator.
- Take out the trash, making sure lids are secure on outdoor garbage.
- Water plants (indoor and outdoor).
- Have a worry free vacation!
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