After the holiday season, many midwesterners look forward to a Spring vacation somewhere warm. And while this is exciting, it can also be frustrating if while you’re gone your home experiences some sort of damage.
So, if you’re planning a vacation this Spring, or simply planning on being away from your home for an extended period of time, don’t forget to make sure you address these 7 things before you leave.
Check the Coverage You Have
When you’re not near your home for a period of time, things like fires, vandalism, or other natural occurrences like lightning strikes can be devastating. So, it’s important to check and make sure your home has the proper coverage for while you’re gone.
Ask your insurance agent what is covered during the vacant days — some homeowners policies may allow up to 60 days of vacant coverage. Otherwise, consider purchasing a separate vacancy coverage if you feel that what they cover is not enough or when you just need added protection.
Leave Your Home Under the Watch of Someone
If you’re that person with good neighbors who are also trusted friends, this is definitely the best tip for you. Request them to stop by once in a while to confirm that your home is intact. You can have them check whether the HVAC is still working, identify any signs of burglar activity, and possibly collect mail on your behalf (you can also have mail or newspaper delivery stopped altogether).
By having someone stop by periodically, you can be assured that if there are any issues, you know about them in a timely manner.
Install a Smart Thermostat
Aside from the freezing temperatures during the winter, other fixtures in your home, like water pipes, are affected by the low temperatures. Also, if the HVAC system is not working well, it may create a perfect environment for mold growth and other adverse effects, like fluctuating utility bills while you’re away.
A nice solution is installing a smart thermostat for your home. This asset can significantly cut your energy bills, as well as notifying you if your HVAC system is on the fritz, keeping you in-the-know on your home’s internal temperature and ecosystem.
Turn Off the Water
While we help homeowners with professional water damage restoration, preventing the damage in the first place is guaranteed to save you time and money. Before leaving home, locate the main water supply and turn it off. This prevents water leaks if there is a fissure on the pipe you haven’t discovered yet, or when one cracks after you’re gone.
Keep in mind however, you’ll want to turn it back on slowly when you come home to prevent a sudden outburst of water pressure from undoing what you have been avoiding, such as breaking the pipes or faucets.
If you haven’t already bought a surge protector, unplug your electronics (e.g., TV, stereo, computer) from the power socket. When there is a power surge, your electronics will be protected, and you won’t be risking a home fire.
Schedule a Professional Cleaning Service
Since your interior will have relatively suitable temperatures than the outside, insects, parasites, and bacteria may want to colonize these newfound undisturbed places. Your best bet is to eliminate them before traveling. Schedule a professional cleaning service to have your home’s carpet cleaned and space sanitized before you leave. Leaving your home super clean means that their reproduction is deterred, and you’ll come back to a clean home.
Protect Against Burglars
If you have an anti-burglar alarm in your home, ensure you have it activated when away and also inform the response company that you won’t be local if it does go off. Also, if possible, connect with remote home monitoring via a smartphone app. Here are a few other tips to keep malicious people away:
- Ensure all your doors and windows (including the garage) are locked and don’t leave any spare keys outside — intruders know where people love hiding them.
- Invest in intelligent lighting. Have the lights (interior and exterior) turn on and off automatically during the night to mimic normal human behavior.
- Don’t overshare your status on social media — if people know you’re not home, your home becomes a prime place for burglary.
Protecting your home when away during the winter is vital, and we hope that one of these tips may help you protect yours. If you do come home however, and your house requires restoration help, our team would be honored to help.
Travel safe, and protect your home.