Whether you’re going away on holiday for a few weeks or closing up the cottage for the season, you need to make sure your house is safe and ready to stay closed and unattended.
An empty house has many potential hazards that could cause you problems. A burst pipe could cause flooding and water damage. Almost 10,000 fires a year are attributed to plugged appliances like microwaves and ovens that catch fire without being in use.
If you want to feel safe that your home is secure when you leave, here are a few things you can do.
Empty Your Trash
It doesn’t matter if you are leaving for a few days or closing down your summer home for the winter: you should empty your trash.
Fruits and vegetables are breeding grounds for fruit flies and other unpleasant inhabitants. These could grow and create colonies inside your trash and in the house. Make sure you have cleaned your trash from not only the kitchen, but the bedrooms, living room, and even bathrooms. Bugs are tenacious creatures and will take any opportunity to settle in and start a colony. The fewer chances you give them, the better.
Clean Your Fridge
Apart from just being good practice, this is a great opportunity to clean out that crisper drawer that hasn’t been touched in months or to throw away the mustard you’ve been holding onto since 2005.
If you don’t want to do a deep clean, then at a minimum clean your fridge from any perishables—like fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese, and meat. Fresh produce deteriorates fast even in the fridge, and you don’t want to return to find everything covered in mold.
Unplug Your Electronics
If something electronic is plugged into the wall, it has the potential to catch on fire. Take a tour around your house and unplug your washer, dryer, microwave, TV, and any other appliances you have. Not only will this keep your house safe, but it will also save on your electricity bill. Most people aren’t aware of this, but appliances consume electricity if they are plugged in, even when not in use.
Turn Off Water Valves
Turn off the main water valve before leaving your house. If you can’t access it, you can still turn off the water valves that lead to your dishwasher, washing machine, sinks, and toilets. This way, you are making sure no water leakage will occur. It also minimizes the chances of a burst pipe.
Clean Drains and Gutters
This isn’t something homeowners generally think of doing before going away, but it’s a great habit to get into. A sudden storm could cause flooding in your home if the drains and gutters are not cleaned of debris and leaves.
Go around your house and clean them, making sure they are unobstructed. Check also that they are not broken.
Secure Outdoor Furniture
Even if you will be away for only a few days or a couple of weeks, secure your outdoor furniture. Gusts of winds could move them or break them. If you have a patio umbrella, close it in case of strong winds.
Program Your Thermostat
There’s no need to keep your home at a comfortable temperature if you’re not in it!
That being said, it’s a good idea to program your thermostat to keep your house within reasonable temperature limits (no warmer than 82 degrees Fahrenheit in summer, and no cooler than 65 in winter).
If your home is too cold in the winter, it could get damaged from moisture and ice. Too much heat can encourage mold to grow, as well as dry out your hardwood floors and make them lose their beautiful look.
Put Lights on a Timer
This applies mainly to shorter trips away from the home. To trick potential burglars into thinking someone is living there, put the lights on a timer so they turn on automatically during the evening. You can even schedule your timer to turn the lights on and off several times during the evening in different parts of the house, to make it look more realistic.
Check Windows and Doors
Check to make sure your windows and doors close and lock properly. You don’t want any intruders coming into your house through an unsecured back window.
Also, check that these openings seal your home from rain and snow. You do not want to see your hardwood floors flooded during a rainstorm.
Valley Restoration and Construction Are Here for You
No matter how cautious you are about securing your home before going away, accidents and unpredictable events happen. That’s why Valley Restoration and Construction are always a phone call away, no matter the time or day.