August is the month of vacationing! If you don't have anything planned, chances are you're spending time daydreaming about getting out of town. Whether you're planning a weekend getaway or a multi-week excursion, it's important to prepare your home for your absence. No one wants to come home to find a flooded basement or stolen goods! We have a checklist of 10 pre-trip safety items to ensure that you return to your home just as you left it!
1. This is an obvious one! Be sure to lock all your doors and windows! Double check that doors are dead-locked and windows are latched. This will deter any potential break-ins.
2. Adjust your gas water heater to vacation or pilot mode. This could save you 15% off your dill because you won't be heating 40-50 gallons of water that won't be used! Upon your return, reheating the water should only take about 20 minutes.
3. Nothing says "unoccupied" like a overstuffed mailbox or piles of newspapers on the driveway. It is simple to put a temporary hold on your mail & paper subscriptions online to ensure your home looks occupied.
4. Adjust your thermostat so that you aren't running the air conditioning or heat without anyone home to enjoy it.
5. Turning off your main water shut-off valve will ensure that there are no plumbing leaks in the home while you're away. No one wants to return from vacation to a flooded home!
6. Don't leave planning pet care to the last minute! If you are unable to bring your beloved family pet on vacation with you, make sure you have stable care in place ahead of time. If you choose to have a pet-sitter at your home, they can help collect your mail/newspapers (#3) in your absence!
7. Unplug non-essential appliances to save energy and protect against power surges. Appliances that can easily be unplugged for savings includes computers, televisions, toasters & clothing dryers.
8. Another deterrent to burglars is a lit home. Invest in timers that you can program or control from your smart phone to turn on & off lights at pre-determined times. Especially in the evening hours, have lights or lamps that are near windows turned on to give your home the appearance of being occupied.
9. If you have a security system in your home, take full advantage of it! Set your alarm for the best way to secure your home alarm for when you're away.
10. If you are planning to be gone for an extended period of time, it might be wise to hire a trusted neighbor to mow your lawn & park in your driveway occasionally. This will give the appearance that you are still home and may bring you increased peace of mind.
Just as important as maintaining your home while you're gone, try to not over-post online about all the fun you are having on vacation. Be extra careful about what you post on social media and who has access to your updates! Save all those wonderful photos & updates for when you return home. Now you can enjoy a worry-free vacation knowing that your home is secure!