7 tips for vacation-proofing your house
Whether you like to take vacations in the summer, winter, or otherwise, one thing is essential. Vacation-proofing your house can keep it safe, lower your bills, and give you peace of mind. Here are seven things you should do when vacation-proofing your house.
1. Tell a trustworthy neighbor or nearby friend
Having someone look out for your house while you’re gone is the most useful way to vacation-proof your home. They can make sure nothing’s out of place, watch for anything strange, and act in case of emergencies. If they’re a good friend or neighbor, they may be willing to help you with some of the following tips, too.
When you ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on things while you’re gone, it’s a good idea to give them a quick tour of the house.
Show them where your circuit breakers and water main are. If you have an alarm system, show them where it is, how it works, and what they need to do to turn it off if there’s a false alarm.
And of course, make sure you give them a key to anyplace they’ll need to access.
2. Mind your plants and lawn
Having a way to take care of your plants and lawn serves two purposes. First and foremost, you don’t want those things to die while you’re gone. Whether you ask your friend or neighbor to water and care for them, or hire a professional, think ahead to keep your houseplants and lawn alive.
Secondly, having a way to care for your plants and lawn while you’re gone makes your house looked “lived in.” When it looks like someone is actively caring for your house, it’s less likely that someone will try to break in or steal things from your yard.
3. Unplug your electronics
Unplugging your electronics is an easy way to vacation-proof your home. When you unplug your electronics, you’re protecting your home against sudden electrical fires and outlet overloads while you’re away.
Additionally, unplugging your electronics can help lower your utility bill a bit. Since no one will be using your electronics while you’re out, there’s little point in keeping them active. And remember: Just because an electronic device is off doesn’t mean it isn’t still sapping energy.
4. Find your water main and consider turning it off
One of the biggest problems people have when returning from a vacation is finding water in their home. A leak or break is difficult enough to notice while you’re home. But while you’re gone, it can not only go unnoticed but also do serious damage.
Each home is different. But generally, your water main will either be outside your house near your meter or somewhere like your boiler room.
Once you find it, look for a wheel handle or lever. If you see more than one, look for the one that connects to the pipe that enters the main part of your home. Slowly turn it clockwise until it stops.
Then, find a faucet at the highest part of your house. Open your hot and cold faucets to relieve pressure and assure that you did indeed turn the water off. Test your remaining faucets from the top of your home down, then close all faucets.
When you return and want to open your water valve, open a faucet at the highest part of your house. Then, find your water-main valve again. Slowly turn your valve’s wheel or lever counterclockwise, about two turns.
Go back to your open faucet and make sure water flows. Once it does, turn the faucet off.
Finally, slowly open each of your other faucets (hot and cold) one at a time. This bleeds out any air in your water pipes. Once the water flows smoothly, turn off that faucet and move onto the next until you’ve opened and closed all of your faucets.
Doing this can protect against water damage and flooding while you’re gone. However, if you have things like pool pumps, think twice about this step. You may just need a neighbor to keep an eye out.
5. Clean out your fridge
Cleaning your fridge out is an easy way to vacation-proof your home. Your fridge is one appliance that you’ll want to keep plugged in while you’re gone. But cleaning it out before you leave will save you time (and bad smells) when you return.
Toss any perishables that are likely to expire while you’re out. If you have stuff you want to save, toss it in the freezer. That way, even if your fridge breaks down or your house has an extended power outage, it’s less likely to spoil.
6. Use a timer or neighbor to keep your lights on
Another strong vacation-proofing tip is to keep a schedule for your lights. This can deter thieves and the overly curious from peering into your home. While you don’t need to have a schedule for every light in your house, having lights on at normal times in your front-most room is helpful.
The easiest way to do this is to simply put a lamp on a timer. Light timers are super easy to find at your local hardware store and even easier to use.
If you’re taking a vacation in the summertime, set your timer for between twilight and around 10:30 p.m. (or whenever you normally go to bed). If you’re taking a winter trip, you’ll likely want to extend the timer. You’re just trying to show outsiders that lights are on at appropriate times.
7. Put your mail on hold
Putting your mail on hold is an often-overlooked way to vacation-proof your home. Simply visit USPS.com and request a mail hold. That way, you’re less likely to lose mail out of an overflowing mailbox. This can also keep the curious out, since an overflowing mailbox can be a sign of vacancy.
Finally, if you expect any package deliveries while you’re out, ask your neighbor or friend from Tip 1 to grab them.
If something breaks down, let 2-10 HBW help
Taking these steps to vacation-proof your house can go a long way. But if something breaks down from normal wear and tear, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW) can help. We offer multiple home warranty plans to fit your needs and budget. We also provide the most comprehensive HVAC protection (that’s heating and cooling) on the market.
2-10 HBW offers the most comprehensive home warranty coverage for homeowners. Let us help you protect your home.