Vacations are a chance to get away and unwind. The last thing you’ll want is to worry about whether you’ve forgotten to unplug certain appliances or turn off the water supply before you left. What’s worse would be to come home from a relaxing trip to a house that reeks of spoiled food or was broken into because you didn’t properly prepare it for your absence. Here’s your checklist of things to go over at home before you leave for your vacation.
Unplugging appliances isn’t just to help you save on your electricity bill but also to help your home stay safe from possible fires. If you have a solar installation at home, make sure to disconnect it before you leave. While it may be tempting to keep them connected so that they can still harvest energy while you’re away, the safety risks may not be worth it. When in doubt, contact your solar provider and ask them about the procedures for your systems during your absence.
If you’re going to be away for a while, it’s wise to invest in a smart thermostat if you haven’t yet. You can set it to a vacation mode designed for your absence, where it will enter an autopilot of sorts, or you can even control it remotely.
While the whole point of going on vacation is to get away from your usual scenery — and possibly some responsibilities — doing some cleaning around the house is essential. It’s also for your own good. The worst thing would be to come home from a relaxing time off to a dirty, smelly home. Save your future self from stress by doing the proper prep.
You won’t have to do a thorough deep clean, but at the very least, you should dust, scrub moist surfaces such as sinks, and clean out drains. And don’t forget to take the trash out!
Cover your furniture
Doing this will save you from having to dust your furniture when you return. If you’re planning on leaving your pets at home, this will also help protect your furniture from pet hair and “accidents.” It’s also best to do this with outdoor furniture too.
Prepare the water supply
Turn off the valves in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you have a swimming pool, make sure that it’s taken care of too. Test your pool’s pH levels and chlorinate it for a few days before covering it. This keeps the water clean and keeps unwanted guests, such as pests, snakes, and even crocodiles or alligators, from sneaking in! If you live in Florida, pool alligators are common occurrences for houses with pools.
Prep your garden and lawn
Mow your lawn before you leave and set your sprinklers on timers. If you’re going to be gone for more than a week, ask a neighbor to mow your lawn while you’re away.
See to it that you check your smoke detectors before you leave. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), you should check the batteries on your alarms once a month. If the alarm is ten years past its manufacturing date, you should replace it.
Don’t forget about your pets
If you’re not going to bring your pets along with you, make sure they’re still taken care of in your absence. You can either have a professional pet sitter take care of them or ask a friend or neighbor to come in to feed them. You can also have a pet cam installed so you can keep an eye on them remotely.
Make it look like you’re still home
Nothing draws in burglars like the sight of an obviously vacant home. Keep your newspapers and mail from piling up on your doorstep by notifying your newspaper subscription, credit card companies, and other mailers that you’ll be away.
We’ve already mentioned automating your thermostat and sprinklers, but you can also get smart light bulbs or set your lights on timers. If you have the funds for it, go the extra mile and upgrade your entire home to a smart one. Logitech has smart systems to control your entertainment systems so you can turn on the TV or stereo from far away.
Another security measure you’ll want to take is to remove your spare keys from their hiding places.
Have a trusted neighbor on call
If you’re unable to make the smart upgrades for your home, you can ask a trusted neighbor — or perhaps a family member or family friend who lives nearby — to do routine checks and some light maintenance tasks around your house. This includes watering the plants, mowing the lawn, feeding the pets, and maybe taking them out for a walk.
Vacations are a time to get away and relax, but they still require some amount of preparation, and not just for the trip itself but for your home, too. Before you leave, make sure to clean around the house, unplug your appliances, and check on your water supply. We recommend installing automation systems that you can monitor remotely so you can maintain parts of your home while you’re away. Most importantly, make sure your home is secure and that it looks lived in to avoid break-ins.