During the winter season, people spend a lot of energy refining every detail of their travel plans. Unfortunately, many fail to give the same thought to preparing their homes. Before you head to the airport, make sure you know how to prep your home for an extended vacation.
Winterize Your Pipes
If you haven’t yet, be sure to drain your sprinkler system and winterize exterior/exposed pipes before you leave town. If your pipes freeze while you’re traveling, you could suffer tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs related to flooding.
You can also take a preventative step by allowing a faucet to drip slowly while you’re gone. Doing this helps reduce the likelihood that a pipe will freeze while you’re away.
Another step to take is opening any cabinet doors under sinks. This will allow warm air to hit the pipes, which can help prevent them from freezing.
Lower Your Thermostat
To save energy (and costs), lower your thermostat to between 55°F and 60°F. There’s no reason to waste money heating your home when there’s no one there to enjoy it. By lowering your thermostat, you can keep your utility bills manageable and your plants alive, while preventing your pipes from freezing.
However, don’t shut your heat of entirely. You could risk frozen pipes if the weather turns ugly.
Prep Your Water Heater
Because they use a lot of energy, water heaters should be shut off during long trips. If you don’t know how to shut off your water heater, cut power at the circuit breaker. You should also consider shutting off the water feeding into your hot water tank in case a leak develops while you are away.
Go Through Your Refrigerator
Be sure to rummage through your refrigerator and throw out anything that will expire before you return home. You don’t want to walk in the door and be greeted by the smell of spoiled milk and rotting meat. Take a few moments to get rid of perishable items before they have a chance to perish.
Appliances can use power even when they are turned off. They can also catch fire when left plugged in. Take a few moments to unplug all small kitchen appliances, including your coffee maker, microwave, toaster, and blender.
Hold Your Mail
Nothing says “nobody’s home” like a pile of newspapers or an overflowing mailbox. Be sure to contact your post office and ask them to put your mail on hold while you are away. You should also consider asking a neighbor to collect newspapers and deliveries and keep them for you while you are traveling.
Have Backup Plans
You may have already asked someone to feed your pets and water your plants. If this person becomes unavailable, however, you need to have an alternate. Make sure you have someone in mind who can serve as a backup, so you won’t end up scrambling at the last moment begging everyone you know for help.
Alert Your Alarm Company
If you have a security system, let the company know you will be leaving your home unattended. This will result in them dispatching police immediately if an alarm goes off, instead of calling your home first. You should also make sure the company can get in touch with you in case of a break in.
Give Yourself the Gift of 2-10
Holiday travel is a wonderful gift for yourself. Another great gift is purchasing a 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10) Home Service Plan.
A 2-10 Home Service Plan protects your budget against unexpected breakdowns to systems and appliances caused by routine use. It also gives you access to local, trusted contractors who can help you diagnose and solve breakdowns.