Are you planning a vacation? We spend time making sure we don’t forget necessary items for our trip, but do we spend that same time to make sure our homes are ready for our vacations? Here are my top 10 tips for vacation-proofing your home.
Top 10 Tips to Vacation-Proof Your House
Note, these tips are not in any order so one tip is not more important than the other.
Tip #1. Don’t Forget About your Plants
Don’t forget about your plants. Be sure to give them a good watering before your trip.
However, some plants need water every few days. I put those plants in my bathtub with an inch or two of water, so they suck up the water through their roots. When I return, these plants are extremely happy.
In the summer, I bring in my outdoor containers and keep them in my cool garage. (It is heavily insulated.) In addition, I put water in their saucers to keep them hydrated. If your garage is very hot, you might want to consider putting the containers inside.
Additionally, you can install a drip hose with an automatic timer to water your outside beds. Before I installed irrigation in the garden, I used an automatic timer. Worked like a charm.
Tip #2-Turn off all Electronic Equipment.
I unplug all my computers and televisions before we go away. Not only do I save energy, I reduce the risk of a energy spikes,which could destroy my electronic equipment.
Tip #3-Turn Off the Water Supply to the House
Shut the water off at the main value in your house before you leave. Shutting off the main value won’t stop your irrigation from running.
“Out of every $100 paid in insurance claims, $12 goes to water damage and freezing claims, not including water damage from flooding rivers and seas,” says Bob Passmore, of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, an industry group.” [source.]
The last thing you need when coming home from vacation is to be greeted by 2 inches of water in your house.
Some people even drain their pipes to prevent freezing. Simply turn off the main value and open up all your hot and cold faucets. Once the faucets stop dripping, you have drained your house.
Tip #4- Turn off the Water Supply to Your Toilets
In addition, in the winter time, remove water from your toilets. According to a Popular Mechanic’s article, if your heating system shuts off, the water in the toilet can freeze and break the porcelain bowl. After you shut off the water to the toilets and remove as much water as you can, the author of the article suggests adding a non-toxic marine antifreeze to the bowl for any remaining water. (You could always use a turkey baster to suck out all the water–if you have the time.)
Tip #5-Stop Your Mail and Packages
We always stop our mail while we are on vacation. A loaded mailbox is signal that no one is home. Your house can be prime target for a burglary.
If you have packages being sent when you are gone or newspapers that are regularly delivered, ask one of your neighbors or friends to stop by regularly to pick them up.
Tip #6-Keep the Lights on
A dark house is like a beacon for burglars. Be sure to installed automatic lighting timers on several lights. For more crime proofing tips, read “10 Ways to Crime Proof Your House” which includes how to secure your sliding glass doors and where not to leave a hidden key.
Tip #7–Lock Your Doors and Windows
Check to make sure all your doors and windows are locked. Both hubs and myself, each check all the doors and windows before we leave. In addition, we put a 10 pound weight in front of the french doors. Our house is on top of a hill and the wind can be brutal. Sometimes, the doors fly open if we don’t secure them properly.
Tip #8 Clean Out Your Refrigerator
Nothing is worse than coming home to a house that smells like rotten eggs. Give away perishable foods to neighbors or relatives. Alternatively, freeze the food. Here is a list of foods that can be frozen. Contrary to what I have read, you CAN freeze lettuce, onions, cucumbers, celery and tomatoes. Just realize that you have to use them in a different way than how they were before they were frozen.
For example, a frozen cucumber can be use to make a sauce. Frozen celery is used in soups and stir fries and tomatoes can be used for sauce. Lettuce and other greens can be used for smoothies. Just be creative.
Tip #9 Dump your Ice Trays and Ice Cream
I know I told you before to freeze your perishables; however, if there is a power outage, the first to leak is the ice and your ice creams. Dump you ice on your garden beds or lawn, and shut off the ice maker from making more ice.
Having gone through Hurricane Sandy, I know that my freezer could stay cold for a couple of days if I didn’t open it. According to Food Safety, freezers will keep temperature for 48 hours. So err on the side of caution and give away (or eat) items that could leak such as ice cream. I know four boys that can help eat your ice cream. Just holler.
Tip #10 Give a Key to a Neighbor or Family Member
Make sure you give a key to a neighbor or family member in the case of a power outage or emergency. (Note, not all neighbors like that 3 am in the morning call from your alarm company so choose wisely.)
Many times, we have been on vacation and the alarm has gone off. Perhaps the wind blew a door open or the alarm tripped. It is good to know someone is there in case of a house emergency.
Join the Conversation:
What are your favorite tips to vacation-proof your house?
It’s nice to have a list like this in one place. I know I should be doing all these, but I often forget. Bookmarking!
Anna@Green Talk says
Sarah, why do you think I wrote this post? 🙂