When the weather turns cold and stormy, there is nothing like planning a winter vacation!
While you may be excited to escape to sunny weather, you will also be leaving your home at a time of year when it is particularly vulnerable. A winter vacation comes with many considerations for homeowners, including
- How to care for your home while you’re away
- How to ensure your home is safe
- How to conserve energy while you are away
If you need to prepare your home for winter vacation, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled all the best tips and tricks to keep your home organized, safe, and energy-efficient while you are away.
3 Reasons Why You Should Prepare
Perhaps you’re reading this and feeling a bit confused. After all, many of us have gone on trips in the past without doing any sort of special preparation. Well, we’re here to tell you that you might just be throwing money away! Prepping your home for a vacation can make for safer travels and a smoother return home.
Here are some of the best reasons to prepare your empty house for your trip.
1) It’s Energy Efficient 💡 – When you leave your home, you don’t want to be wasting power. Or paying for it, for that matter. By making the necessary adjustments to your appliances, you can help keep your home both energy and cost-efficient.
2) It’s Safer 🦺- When you leave your home to go on vacation, your home is vulnerable to all sorts of problems that you will not be there to catch in time. You can protect your home by taking precautions against unexpected surprises.
3) Peace of Mind ✌️ – Taking care of your home ensures that you can fully enjoy your vacation without worrying about the state of your house. Peace of mind is priceless, so why not invest in yours?
When it comes to preparing your home for vacation, you might think that cleaning your house is all about creating a nice environment for you to return to. While that’s certainly the case, leaving a messy home behind can come with some safety and health risks you might not have thought of.
Here are our must-have cleaning tasks to take care of before you head off.
Take Out the Trash 🗑️
It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many homeowners forget to empty their trash cans before leaving for a trip. Food waste in your trash cans will continue to rot and can grow mold if left unattended. The smell of food can also be a tempting lure to pests such as mice and flies.
Stop these problems before they start by taking the trash outside of your home. Ideally, plan your departure around trash day so that you won’t have anything to worry about.
Finish the Laundry 👔
We know that we have been guilty in the past of tossing a load of clothes into the washing machine only to forget about it for a day. Well, two days. Okay, more than that, but who’s counting?
Leaving damp clothes in your washing machine or dryer can cause mildew to build up and create an unpleasant smell in your home. Before you get into vacation mode, make sure there are no clothes left behind in your washer.
Clean Your Refrigerator 🧽
It’s a good idea to clean your refrigerator before traveling. Produce and leftovers can all go bad during a trip. And no one likes cleaning up the remains of a soggy head of lettuce or moldy Tupperware containers.
Clean All Sinks 🚰
We recommend cleaning your sink before traveling. This includes cleaning the garbage disposal. Tiny bits of food can easily become stuck in the garbage disposal, which could create a funky odor by the time you return.
Wipe Down Countertops 🧼
Wiping down countertops so that they are free of any crumbs or other debris can help prevent pests from being attracted to your kitchen.
Not taking proper care of your appliances could be raising the prices of your energy bills when you aren’t even home! Here are some things to look out for.
Turn Down Your Hot Water Heater 📉
When you aren’t home, there’s no reason to keep your water heater at its normal temperature. Instead, take some time to lower the temperature. If you have an electric heater, it likely comes with a “vacation mode” setting that will lower the temperature of the hot tank. If you have a gas heating system, you can simply turn down the temperature manually.
Unplug Electronics 🔌
Unplugging electronics is a great way to conserve energy and save money. We recommend unplugging things like televisions, speakers, phone chargers, and computers while you are away to save up to 10% on your next energy bill! Don’t forget about small appliances like toasters and blenders, as well!
Lower the Thermostat 🌡️
While you are gone, you don’t need your air conditioner or heater to be running full blast. Instead, either turn off the air conditioning/heating system entirely or set it to a lower temperature. (Just make sure to leave it at 65 degrees or above in winter.) Your wallet will thank you!
Shut Off Your Water Valves 🚰
Looking for some extra peace of mind? Try shutting off your water valve before setting off on an extended vacation. When your water valve is on, water will continue to sit in your pipes. If something unexpected happens, like a pipe freeze, you could be looking at significant water damage by the time you return.
It’s a good idea to have some safety and security precautions in place before you leave. That way, you will know that your home is protected.
Alert Neighbors 👨🏻
Talk with your neighbors and let them know that you are headed out of town. They may be willing to keep an eye on your home and help with simple tasks such as putting the trash bins out or watering your plants.
Alternatively, you could ask if any of them want to be the house sitter. This is a great job for local neighborhood teens. If no neighbors are available to help, ask a friend or family member to do periodic checks on your home.
If your house has a security system, be sure to arm it before you leave. Many alarm systems will automatically contact the local police if they sense a disturbance.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to invest in some outdoor lights with motion sensors near all external doors. This can help deter anyone from breaking into your home.
Put a Hold on Your Mail 📬
A stuffed mailbox is a clear sign that the owners aren’t home. For safety purposes, contact your local post office and ask them to put a hold on your mail until you return.
Install Video Surveillance 🎥
The invention of video surveillance alarms makes it easier than ever to keep an eye on your home while on an extended vacation.
Closing blinds and curtains will prevent people from being able to peer through your windows to see if you have any valuables.
Have a Professional on Speed Dial ☎️
One of the scariest parts of traveling is not knowing how to take care of your home should disaster strike.
Ease your mind by having a trusted professional on speed dial! At AJ Alberts, we provide top-of-the-line plumbing services for commercial and residential properties. Interested in learning how to protect your plumbing system while you are out of town? Contact us today to learn more!