Clean enamel exteriors with sudsy water, rinse, and dry. For mail being forwarded further distances or for even more extended periods of time, the cost is higher. -- Leaks: Check for water leaks before you leave. Unless you have a house sitter coming to water them, you would come back to a house full of dead plants! Figuring out how to balance the budget for a home that remains empty can be tricky. Let your neighbors know how long you will be away and give them additional contacts should you travel beyond cell service. Unplug unnecessary appliances in preparation for … Details: A continually dark house, both inside and out, can be a signal to a burglar that no one is home. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes and other tropical storms, it’s wise to put up storm shutters. Empty your refrigerator 2. Add contact names and numbers for any professional services that you annually use. We turn off the main water line into our house before we leave. -- Banks/credit cards: If you plan to use your credit or debit cards while you're out of town, specifically out of the country, notify your bank and credit-card company. Coming home to the rotten smell of a dirty garbage disposal that has sat for weeks or months on end is not exactly pleasant. Turn off ceiling fans, indoor and out. Before you leave it’s important to verify that the phone numbers the temperature monitors you have programmed are accurate and working. You also need to pay for a high-speed internet connection while you’re away, but you may be paying for that anyway. Thankfully, stopping the mail is as easy as going onto and requesting your mail is forwarded or held. In Flordia, specially the humid months, you do not leave the house with no A/C. On the other hand, there are companies that sell do-it-yourself kits including the web cameras, digital hubs, and software that allows you to install, set-up, and use such a system. -- Car: If you park your car in the driveway normally and are leaving it while on an extended trip, arrange for a friend or relative to drive it so that it looks like it is being used (and so cobwebs don't develop, a sure signal that no one is home). For many, there’s nothing better than reading a physical newspaper, magazine, or book. All of them do essentially the same thing, so purchase the light timers you feel most comfortable programming. Linda Stanfield, owner of Benjamin Franklin the Punctual Plumber, recommends not turning it off while you're gone, but instead flushing it out when you return. Left unchecked, mail will likely accumulate beyond your mail box capacity and potentially announce your absence. Unplug and reset the thermostat: Temporarily adjust the thermostat so the air-conditioner or heater won't waste energy by running in an empty house. The important exception to this would be if you’re using an internet web cam or other security system that requires an internet connection. 15. Lock your back door. Use a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda in one quart of water, in order to neutralize food soils and prevent odors. Instead you turn it up to about 82 and just let it run. The thieves know about these products and tricks and look for these easy access vulnerabilities. My strongest recommendation is to use this article to create a check list for your situation. Put some ice cubes in a bowl in the freezer section of the refrigerator (and also in your chest/deep freezer if you have one). Mail can be held for up to 30 days, or less. In concert with other home security recommendations (light timers, helpful neighbors, police notification, etc.) These items may not apply to your house, or there may be more specific needs that you have to consider. Most of us leave at least one car at home. When you get home, check the ice cubes. No matter how long you'll be gone, whether a few days or several months, here are steps you can take to make your house safer and lower your utility bills. Check out these 9 tips to ensure you're home is safe next time you leave town. Thank you helpful neighbors. There is no sense in maintaining a hot tank of water for months when you’re away. Precautions for leaving a house empty over winter please? Some of the items in these checklists might not apply to your house, and there may be other items that you’ll need on your checklist that other people don’t have to consider. Most of these items (like turning off your house water) take seconds and will become instinctual every time you leave for a long trip. If you can’t empty out your refrigerator and freezer, here are a couple of hints to help you avoid disaster. “The valves in dishwashers can get stuck in the closed position when they sit around unused for weeks on end,” says Shank. If the power went out, did your alarm turn back on? In the 1990 classic Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin’s character famously used a movie to scare away ‘The Wet Bandits’. Surge protectors are not perfect. Perhaps the most important aspect of this preparation is making sure your home appears occupied. Reply Reply Author. Ask a friend or neighbor you trust to water your plants. Long-term: Clean out the refrigerator; either throw items away or give them to a neighbor. Don't keep anything that is likely to go bad during the … Clean out your fridge and pantry of … 12. Also, have a neighbor, friend or pool service check the pool periodically to make sure the pump is operating properly. 6. With a little preparation, and a dose of prevention, none of these fears should keep you from embarking on the long-term trip of a lifetime. Another option is to have a neighbor or another contact who can put the shutters up if a storm is approaching. It’s a minor detail, but closing a fireplace flue will prevent bats, bird, squirrels, and other critters from entering your home. A vacation requires preparation, including arranging flights, reserving hotel rooms and finding things to do. 4. If your neighbor’s house is close enough, ask them to park in your driveway to greatly enhance the appearance of occupancy. Some folks also recommend putting a little baking soda in sink drains and toilets to further avoid the stagnant water stink. You’ll be paying for that hidden draw while you’re away. Just kidding! Lock all sliding doors with security locks. Apply a coating of appli-ance or car wax to enamel exteriors to protect scratches Figure 1. There are different opinions on the best practices with window blinds. Mix a half cup of vinegar with a cup of water and pour down. To prevent this from happening, empty your refrigerator of all perishables, clean the inside, and leave it unplugged and defrosted with the doors open. Details: If you have a pool, continue to run the pump so the pool doesn't develop algae and turn green. 110 posts. The house took about 2 hours to get back up to 65 when we came back, but it was comfortable enough to sit and eat dinner within 30 minutes. If necessary, you might purchase an endorsement to your policy to provide coverage for your home while it's vacant. That’s right, you can watch your house yourself when you’re away. For more information about mail forwarding in Canada visit Depending on how it looks, it also can be considered blight. Other items, like not hiding house keys, are just tips that you can immediately incorporate into your travel habits. Be aware that there are concerns that web cameras of any kind could get hacked allowing not just you to see your house and home, but anyone on the planet. Here is the final hint to know if your stuff has stayed cold while you were gone, or if you have had a power-outage that let stuff thaw, and has now re-frozen. Whoo-wee! Most of us have a home surrounded by green traitors; grass, shrubs, and trees. If that’s not possible, disconnect the battery to prevent drainage (or use a battery trickle charger), and put the automobile on jacks to avoid tire flat spots. Avoid telling the world your home is going to be empty. The problem: Appliances in an empty home can also take a hit. This one seems a bit counterintuitive — right before you leave, you clear … Rather than paying about $150 for cable television and internet while you’re not home, you can pay $10 to put both services on hold. Long-term: Again, turn up the thermostat to about 85 degrees. To keep these green back-stabbers in check this past summer, I hired a local college student to mow my lawn and maintain our gardens. On many occasions we have shortened or extended mail forwarding based on changing road plans. All kinds of weather could happen in your absence. If they are melted, stuff has thawed and must be thrown away. Short-term: Turn up the thermostat to about 85 degrees. It’s no good to be programming your light timers for the first time moments before locking the door and then wonder during your trip if you programmed them correctly. While you will hopefully not need these images, having evidence of this information can make or break travel plans. If you are going to be gone long term, arrange for your mail to be forwarded. When they area away, we perform the same type of duties for our neighbors making home watching feel like a mutual benefit rather than an imposed burden. It’s also a very good idea to shut off and drain dishwasher valves, washing machine valves, sink valves, and outdoor water faucets. You’ll be free to enjoy the adventures of truck camping. One is to unplug the refrigerator and leave the door open to prevent mildew, odor and mold. Step 1, Turn off the water at the exterior. The thermostat only showed 50F at that time, but the air surrounding us was toasty warm. Depending on the season of your absence, and your home climate, it may also be necessary to have someone help with snow removal, leaf raking and removal, and lawn and shrub watering. To supplement your fake Fido, you can install faux alarm signs and stickers. Some people leave for 3 months and some leave for 7 months. When in doubt, replace the batteries, and test the detectors. Lock your front door. Never Post Travel Plans or Events on Social Media. Follow the instructions in this article and you’ll be truck camping cool as a cucumber. Leaving your house empty for over 3 months? An empty house is a target for crime and criminals have been known to store stolen goods in empty houses, commercially grow cannabis in abandoned homes or sell drugs from the house. The water heater will run occasionally but not nearly as often as it does normally. It also involves preparing your home for your absence. 7. Leave all the interior doors open so the air can circulate inside the house. If there is frost in your freezer, you'll want to wait until that has melted and been cleaned up before you leave. Details: Why run up your electric bill heating water that you're not going to be there to use? It is preferable to not leave storm shutters on to help with the illusion of home occupancy. Here’s a good article from the Chicago Tribune, “Alarms Should Sound On Deal”. Even the most experienced truck camper owners worry about their homes while they’re away. We experienced a plumbing leak when we were home and were able to correct the problem quickly. Avoid Stinky Garbage Disposal Syndrome (SGDS). Take care of your yard. 5. Don't let it sit empty, however. Turning off the main water supply to your home is the best defense against flooding caused by a burst pipe or other plumbing failure. Second, clean the refrigerator. With the invention of high-speed internet, the proliferation of high quality small cameras, and the ability to see live streaming video using the cellular connections on our smartphones, it’s now possible to see a live video feed of our house and property from almost anywhere in the world. Review your policy and talk with your insurance agent. To defeat these scanners, disconnect the receiver and use a manual garage door lock. No matter how long you'll be gone, whether a few days or several months, here are steps you can take to make your house safer and lower your utility bills. When you return home: I use a battery trickle charger from Battery Tender.
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