5 Essential Home Preparation Tips Prior to Vacation
No vacation preparation is complete without concrete travel plans, packed suitcases, mail holds, and a few home maintenance steps that will get your house ready for your time away.
If you have winter travel plans or a summer holiday in the works, taking these steps before you go will:
- Ensure the safety of your home
- Reduce energy costs while you're away
- Prevent disasters and damage
1. Alter the Climate Control Settings
Your thermostat works hard to ensure that the temperature inside your house is comfortable and cozy, regardless of what the weather outside is doing. But when you're lying on the beach in a tropical paradise or on the dock at the cottage, your home doesn’t have to remain at your favorite temperature.
To reduce heating and cooling costs while you're gone, set the thermostat to 50 F in winter or 85 F in summer. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can even set it to return the house to its normal temperature shortly before your return.
2. Stop the Water From Flowing
Leaks and floods are an unfortunate reality, but you can prevent them while you’re away by turning off the main water valve in your home before you leave. And after you shut off the water, you should run all the taps and flush all the toilets to remove the remaining water from the pipes. This will prevent drips, leaks, and floods from damaged, frozen, or burst pipes while you're not home.
3. Prepare the Water Heater
Turn your water heater to vacation mode or its lowest setting/temperature. This will prevent the heater from turning on regularly and wasting energy to keep the water hot.
Expert tip: make sure you turn the water back on and run the taps on hot for a while before turning the water heater back on. Heating up an empty water tank could damage the components.
4. Automate the Lights
Conventional advice said to leave a few lights on in the house during vacations so people wouldn’t suspect you weren't home. But burglars and thieves are smart, and quickly figured out that the same lights being on day and night means the same thing as a perpetually dark house: the family is out of town.
So instead of leaving lights on 24 hours a day when you're away, put the lights on a timer so they come on in the evening and shut off around bed time. And don’t forget to switch up what lights are on from day to day.
5. Disconnect the Appliances
Because most of the appliances and electronics that are manufactured today have lights and display screens, they all still draw power even when they're turned off.
The only way to prevent your devices from consuming energy and wasting money when you're gone is to unplug everything you can. This even includes the fridge, so eat those leftovers before your trip (just make sure you leave the doors open to air out).
Holidays are both exciting and relaxing, but you'll really only be able to truly enjoy yourself if you know your home is safe and was prepared for your time away. And that way, you'll look forward to coming home after your vacation, rather than dreading a home maintenance nightmare that could be awaiting you.
For more help with your regular or seasonal plumbing needs, call Albert Nahman Plumbing servicing the Berkeley, CA area at 510-984-1832.