“Did I remember to unplug the toaster oven?” “Did I turn the thermostat off?” Oh, the questions we ask ourselves as we pack up our cars, eager to finally leave our homes after months of staying inside.
After surviving all of this time cooped up at home, the last thing you want is to ruin a much-deserved week away worrying about whether your home will remain in one piece while you’re gone.
If you find yourself plagued by these thoughts when leaving home for the first time in a while, then this vacation checklist is for you!
Here are eight things to do before you hit the road:
Program Your Thermostat
Many of us are ushering in summer with some sense of normalcy, even if it’s just a short road trip to a neighboring state or isolated nature reserve. But are your energy bills taking a much-needed break, too? Make sure to program your thermostat before you leave so that you’re not wasting energy – and money – blasting constant cool air through a home with no one in it.
However, you also don’t want to run the risk of your house getting too hot while you’re gone, which can cause a host of issues in and of itself. If you’ve recently updated your thermostat, chances are it has a smart setting that allows you to adjust temperatures for times that you’re away.
Leave the Lights On
Since March, we’ve all lived under the assumption that everyone was hunkered down at home nearly all the time. However, things are beginning to shift, and nothing attracts a thief’s attention quite like the first house in the neighborhood to turn the lights off for more than a day at a time. It’s basically a welcome sign to a burglar, signaling that there’s no one home to protect it. Consider leaving a few lights on, so it looks like the house is occupied. Alternatively, you can invest in a smart lighting system that’s automatically timed throughout the day so you don’t waste too much energy.
Clean Your Storm Drains
If you live in a desert, you can probably skip this one. Otherwise, it’s crucial for homeowners to clean their storm drains before leaving on vacation. If a storm rolls through town and the drains are clogged or blocked, it can lead to a massive flood. Not what you want to return to after a week worry-free.
Send Your Water Heater on a Vacation, Too
Does your water heater have a vacation mode? If so, make use of it! Most traditional water heaters hold 40 or 50 gallons of water, and rely on a thermostat to maintain the right temperature. Of course, if you aren’t there to reap the benefits of a hot shower, then there’s no point in keeping your water heater working around the clock for nothing.
Unplug Your Appliances and Electronics
Minimize the risk of fire and save on power bills by unplugging your appliances and electronics before you leave. Make sure computers, televisions, and random chargers all make it onto this list. By leaving these electronics plugged in, you’re using excessive amounts of energy that you’ll pay for when the electric bill rolls around. This doesn’t just apply to your next vacation. With most of us spending an increased amount of time indoors, we’d all do well to cut down on electricity where we can.
Prevent Water Damage
A leaky pipe is more than a pesky problem. You may want to consider turning off the main water supply valve in your house to prevent any possible water damage from wreaking havoc on your home while you’re gone. This is your best line of defense against a burst pipe or any other plumbing issues that could occur while you’re not home.
Install Surge Protectors
Installing surge protectors is a smart investment that will help your house year round, not just when you leave for vacation. If a downed line causes an electrical surge while you’re away, it can cause serious damage and financial destruction.
Check Your Doors and Windows
We’ve talked before about the importance of caulking doors and windows for gaps. Not only is it helpful to keep hot air from drafting into your space, it’s also a substantial safety precaution to keep burglars at bay.
Take these precautions, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying that hard-earned vacation, free of any worries about your home! It may take some extra preparation, but it will save you a major headache – and potentially a lot of money – in the long run. You deserve some time to decompress from the stresses that have accompanied 2020, and by following these steps, you can rest assured that your home won’t be the cause of any impending catastrophes.