How to Vacation Proof Your Home

When in a hurry to go on vacation, it can be hard to figure out what should be done before leaving. Here are some things to consider.

Pets

Most people will have someone check in on their cat or dog to feed them while they’re away. The problem is that most people aren’t very thoughtful and caring. People will accidentally let the animals escape into the neighborhood, forget to feed them, not recognize that they’re sick, etc. If Fluffy escapes to the yard, can your friend catch her? Whoever is checking on your pets better be able to catch them if they get out or it could be a disaster. It’s better to board the animals with their veterinarian. You shouldn’t be going on vacation if you don’t want to spend the extra money to keep the pets safe.

Use the water turn off valves

If your home has a well then turn off the breaker for the well’s pump. If a pipe bursts there is enough water left in the lines to do damage even when the water is off. Not to mention that in winter the remaining water could freeze and burst the pipes, which is a costly mess. Be sure to drain the lines by turning on a faucet and letting it run until there is no more water in the pipes. If you don’t have a well then see if there’s another way to turn off the water coming into the home. At a minimum, turn off all the turn off valves throughout the home especially the large ones like the washing machine.

Stop the mail, newspaper, and other deliveries

Most people will say that the mail should be held by the post office while you’re away. The idea here is that a would-be-burglar can’t simply look in the mailbox and see a telltale sign that the home is vacant. The other side of this is that anyone working at these locations where the requests are made would know who isn’t home. That doesn’t seem very safe.

Don’t order anything that’ll be delivered while you’re away especially UPS deliveries. If it’s too late to stop a UPS delivery then sign-up for UPS My Choice on their website and reschedule the delivery. As for the mail, consider buying a post office box. While going to the post office to always get your mail may not be convenient, it is definitely safer. That way there is no one to notify about the mail. It’d also be good to stop permanently as many mailed bills and statements as possible that can be accessed online. That’d certainly be less paper to shred before throwing it away. As for the newspaper, it’d be safer to cancel the subscription and get your news online.

Lights

A lot of people like to leave lights on so it looks like someone is home. But leaving anything on doesn’t seem very safe, and it isn’t much of a determent if it’s always on. As an alternative, maybe some solar lights could be put inside the home so there will be lights only on at night. They’d need to be near a window so they’ll charge but not visible if someone looks through the window. A window that’s not at ground level to prevent someone from looking in would be best.

Landscaping

Mow the grass and trim the bushes before you leave so it doesn’t look like your home was abandoned months ago. If you live off the road some solar lights will help light up the dark areas around your home. From a distance, people can see the lights and won’t know they are solar lights in the yard if you have a really long driveway. Motion-detector lights near the doors are also a good idea.

Windows and locks

Remember that window with the broken latch? How about the window with the missing pane of glass? Now would be a great time to fix those problems before you leave. Have you given out sets of house keys to people over the years that you really don’t speak to so much anymore? If so, now would also be a good time to change the locks.

Food

Don’t leave food in the fridge that’ll rot while you’re gone. In fact, don’t leave food in the fridge regardless because if there’s a power outage while you’re gone then it’s going to rot anyway. It can be frustrating trying to determine if the power has been off and how long it was off. A clock that is electric but doesn’t set itself is always handy because then it’s obvious how long the power was out. You can also put ice cubes in a container in the freezer, and if the ice is no longer in cubes, if it’s just a slab of ice then obviously the power was out.

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