How to Prep Your Home for Vacation

As the holidays are upon us, you may be heading out of town and are likely packing and preparing. But have you given thought to the home you’re leaving behind? Following these tips can keep your home safe and happy while you are having fun!

Unplug appliances – Appliances continue to use energy even when the device is turned off. It is best to unplug all devices including phone chargers, computers, televisions and coffee pots. This will not only save energy, but it will prevent damage from lightning strikes and power surges.

Adjust air conditioning – The air conditioning system uses a significant amount of energy. Turn the temperature up 10 degrees higher than it is usually set, or have a professional install a programmable thermostat that can be adjusted to turn on and cool the home just before returning from vacation.

Clean garbage disposal – The waste disposal is notorious for developing unpleasant odors while the house is empty. It is wise to flush the garbage disposal out with ½ cup of white vinegar and hot water while the disposal is turned on.

Clean out the refrigerator – While you’re at it, take a peek inside your refrigerator. Freeze, eat or toss anything that will spoil while you’re gone. This is pretty self-explanatory. No one wants to come home to a fridge filled with science experiments!

Change the setting on the water heater – There is no need to heat water for an empty home. Adjust the water heater to vacation mode. If the water heater does not have a vacation mode, turn the temperature down. This will save a significant amount of money on the energy bill.

Put lights on a timer – According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), there are more than 2.15 million burglaries each year, with the majority occurring in the peak vacation months. If a home is dark, it is a sure sign that someone is not home. Put a couple of lamps on a timer inside the home. Set these to go on and off at different intervals. This will give the illusion that someone is home and make the home less vulnerable to burglaries.

Double check the laundry – While running around packing and cleaning the house, it’s easy to forget that last load of laundry you should put in the dryer. Remember  to turn off your water to the washer.

Stagnant water in toilet – Water left inactive in the toilet can produce a foul odor and a ring that forms around the toilet bowl. To prevent this, place ½ cup of bleach in the toilet bowl just before leaving home.

Enjoy your vacation but remember to handle the mail while away!

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