Going Away? 10 Tips to Prepare Your Vacant Home
- Turn off the water at the main valve AND drain water from the lines from the lowest point in the house. You have a gate valve and those are prone to getting mineral deposits and/or not shutting off all the way. Also, they typically have (soft) copper parts inside and may leak if turned on/off too often. A ball valve would be the replacement (at some point in the future). It is often a good idea to turn off the breakers to the HW tank if the water has been turned off.
- Make sure that Windows/doors are locked and secure. Blinds drawn/down in any windows to rear and side of your home.
- Remove valuables from house if possible (leave with friends/neighbors that you trust or in a safety deposit box). Make sure that no valuable are in plain view thru windows – many crimes are smash & grabs and the offender is long gone before the police arrive.
- Secure outside furniture, planters, grill cover in case of storms/strong wind. Using bungee cords to tie things together/down is an option.
- Cancel any subscriptions or services (newspaper, grocery, water etc.)
- Turn off and unplug electronics not needed including your router/pc – unless needed for updates, remote access, WIFI doorbells, cameras etc. There is no need to project your SSID if not being used. Do not unplug refrig.
- Clean out refrig of any perishables. Likewise, anything in freezer that you won’t want after 6 months (whenever you return etc.). An old trick to keep an eye on your freezer – fill a plastic cup with water and put a penny on top. If the ice melts then the penny will drop and you know that there has been a melting event. We use something called a Freezer Meter (we actually provide one to every client and it is our gift). Net/net – you would not want to eat any food that has been thru such a freeze/thaw/re-freeze event.
- Adjust your thermostat (77 F in summer, 65 F in winter). Open and leave open closet/cabinet doors near plumbing pipes to allow air and heat to circulate. You don’t want to turn down heat too low in winter since that leads to less buffer time (in case of power outage, or until someone finds the problem).
- Clean toilets and consider leaving non-staining cleaner in toilets. Leave lid up, (UV) light is a great disinfectant.
- Have someone check on your home regularly. Nothing replaces human eyes and ears. If a service, make sure they are bonded and insured (and background checked) in case something goes wrong. If friend/family then discuss a plan (in advance) in case of problems. Or call Golden Rule!
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