You might be looking forward to your trip during the cold months of the year. You’re prepared to take a break and relax. However, the most important thing you can do before leaving for a winter vacation is to prepare your home.
Create a master list of all tasks and check off each one as you complete them. Better yet, use this guide as your checklist and add anything that you think is necessary.
Prepare Your House for Freezing Temperatures
The weather will be your biggest enemy this coming winter, which is why you prepare your house for the freezing temperatures. Your number one problem is your water pipes. When they freeze, they’ll leave a nasty mess by the time you get back. This happens because when the temperature rises, the water left inside the pipes in your house will melt.
Unfortunately, the freezing temperatures cause pipes to expand during winter, creating tears, and worse, bursting. Water that melts will leak through these tears, leaving water all over the place.
To prevent this from happening, turn off the main water valve before you leave for vacation. Leave all faucets open so that excess water left inside is drained out. Contact your plumber and have the pipes in your house blown with compressed air. This will surely void all water from your pipes.
Cover your faucets with insulation; plastic bags will do. But, it’s best to insulate pipes in unheated areas such as the basement, garage, and attic. According to USA Today, as for the heating for the rest of the house, maintain 50 degrees on your thermostat.
Also, turn off water valves connected to your washing machine and dishwasher. But, leave your dishwasher slightly open to allow excess water to evaporate. Just make sure that it’s empty when you do.
Save on Electricity Costs and Prevent Fires
Unplug all appliances, devices, and everything that’s connected to your electricity. Yep, you can prevent vampire electricity costs this way. And, it can also secure your home against the risk of fire.
You sure can save on heating, too. Set your water heater to “vacation mode.” And, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms have fresh batteries, so they’ll still work when you get back. You don’t want to be poisoned as you enter your house when you get back.
Increase the Security for Your Home
To keep your house secured while you’re enjoying your vacation, lock all doors and windows. For double protection, have someone in the neighborhood know that you’ll be away for the winter. You can also install timers on your lights or motion-activated sensor so that they can turn on at night. Your house will look like it’s occupied even if you’re not there.
If you leave a car parked outside your house while you’re gone, make sure it’s covered. Of course, it’s better to leave it in the garage. If it’s in there, put a trickle charge on your batteries so it will not get drained out. Put some dryer sheets around your car, too. This can prevent vermin from chewing on your tires.
Another way of securing your house is cleaning its exterior and outdoor structures. If you leave them cluttered, strangers will think no one’s home. Mow the lawn and check for indications of bad gutters, too. Leaves can accumulate there, and that might show signs of house vacancy.
Complete All House Chores
Before you go through that door and say goodbye to your house, finish essential chores such as emptying all trashcans and cleaning them, throwing away all food that can spoil in your fridge, and cleaning your fridge. This can prevent unwanted critters from creeping up your house while you’re gone. They can leave a huge mess if you leave any food that they can forage in the open.
Also, try pouring vinegar and water solution in your garbage bins to prevent a build-up of unpleasant odors while you’re away. Flush out all the toilets to prevent sewage gas build-up, too.
Finally, change the air filters in your furnace, according to Washington Post. When you get back, your house will have better indoor air quality.
You can ask a friend to house-sit for you, or you can hire someone to do it. You’ll have better security this way, knowing someone is staying at home. You can also ask them to take care of house chores (possibly with an additional fee if you hired someone). This way, you don’t have to worry when you come back.
To have peace of mind before you go for a winter vacation, make sure to follow these pointers. Don’t let worrying over your house stop you from enjoying your trip.