Winter vacation is supposed to be a relaxing time, a worry-free week or time away from home, building new memories with family and friends. Why should you have to worry about your home while you take your family on a dream winter getaway?
Home maintenance professionals frequently field questions from homeowners concerned about their properties while away, even spending their hard-earned, carefree time fretting about what could be going wrong at home. Understandably, it can be hard to let go and let loose while concerned about your largest and most important investment. What if someone breaks in? What if a fire starts? Not being there to address problems as they arise can be nerve-wracking and even scary.
The best and most effective action you can take is to prepare adequately. Taking several concrete steps to protect your home from the most obvious vulnerabilities will not only bring peace of mind, but could help avoid a tragedy as well.
The Three S’s: Security, Savings and (Home) Safety
The items on your pre-vacation home checklist fall into 3 major categories: security, savings & home safety.
Security: Any signs of an empty home basically roll out the welcome mat for would-be thieves and troublemakers. In fact, a whopping 9 out of 10 burglaries could be prevented if homeowners took some simple steps to avert criminals.
While reviewing your home’s security before your vacation, you should…
- Put your lights on a timer, so would-be robbers think someone is home
- Suspend your mail (here’s the quick USPS web tool for putting your mail on hold) and package delivery, or ask a trusted neighbor or friend to collect your mail, as to leave no indication that your home is empty
- Activate your alarm, cameras or your home’s other security features
- Consider asking a friend to check in on your home if your trip is very long. HomeSquare offers this service as part of our Essentials Plan and to any interested home owners.
- Check that all doors and windows are locked, and if not, make sure you call a handyman to address your vulnerable spots
Savings: You don’t need the heat to run at full blast or the fridge to be on its highest setting while you’re away, However, you can’t shut them off and expect your home to stay in good shape. Double-checking your top money-sucking appliances and systems will ensure you don’t waste money without affecting your home.
To ensure you don’t waste any money while you’re on vacation, you should…
- Check that your heat is set to a comparable outside temperature, just enough to prevent freezing
- Place your thermostat on a timer so the heat doesn’t run around the clock
- Shut off the hot water heater, or switch it to pilot setting, to avoid unnecessary charges
Home safety: Any number of items connected to electricity or water could malfunction while you’re away, causing a devastating fire or flood which you aren’t home to address. Especially during the winter, when a burst frozen pipe could severely damage floors and walls, it is paramount to ensure that your home is as protected as possible from these potential hazards.
While preparing your home against unlikely, but nonetheless devastating, events, you should…
- Turn off the main water supply to prevent severe leaks
- Hire a home maintenance professional to check your water pipes for cracks and other vulnerabilities
- Unplug major appliances and small home appliances, both for safety and to cut back electricity costs
Proper preparation is just that – preparation. Nobody can control freak accidents or unpreventable emergencies which consume our worries while we’re away on vacation, but we can minimize any likelihood of problems with a few simple steps.
About HomeSquare: Established in 2001, HomeSquare’s services include handyman jobs, seasonal maintenance plans, emergency response, and home renovation. As homeowners ourselves, we founded the company because we were dissatisfied with the home maintenance experience. In this day and age is it really necessary to trade voicemails with guys in pick-up trucks you don’t know? Each of our customers has HomeJotter, our own iPhone app which makes it easy to see what’s going on in your house as well as request new services. Free quotes and consultations for all Westport Moms and their families.