Keeping Your House Safe on Vacation
If it is time to leave your house for a business trip, a family visit, or a well-deserved vacation, there are a few things you should do to make sure your house stays safe without you.
Keeping your lights on timers and stopping the mail are important steps to keep your house safe from burglars but there are also dangers within a home that build up without the care and continued use of a homeowner. Things like pipes and electronics are meant to be used, so if you plan to let them sit for a week or two, or even months, there are a few precautions you should take.
It’s important to have your thermostat set correctly when you are gone. In winter time you don’t want to waste money heating an empty house. However, you need to keep the house just warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. This means setting the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Too much heat can also be damaging to your home. Heat buildup can cause wood floors to warp, and heat without air circulation can cause condensation that will result in water damaged walls or floors. To prevent this, you’ll want to keep your house under 85 degrees Fahrenheit and allow a heating or cooling system to continue circulating air.
It is also a good idea to turn off the water completely. If you can get to your main water valve, shut it off. While on vacation, even a tiny leak that goes undetected for weeks can turn into a huge problem. The water can ruin drywall, flooring, appliances, or cabinetry and give you a huge mess to deal with when you get home.
With the water off there will still be a little bit of water left in the pipes, but even if something does go wrong it shouldn’t lead to tearing up a whole section of your house. When you return, it will just take a few minutes for the water to get back to its normal flow and temperature once the main valve is turned back on.
Many homes have a separate shut off for indoor water and outdoor water so you can still water your plants when you are away while keeping your home safe.
Also, unplug as many electronics as you can. Unplugging anything that connects directly to the wall and turning off any surge protectors will protect your appliances in case a power surge happens while you are away.
Unplugging can also save you money on your electric bill. Any appliance that is plugged in is drawing a little bit of power whether it is turned on or not. Unplugging everything will prevent you from paying for electricity that you are not using while you are away. Keeping your house protected and saving some money will be well worth resetting a few clocks when you return.
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