Hire A House Sitter
Hire a house sitter (or ask a trusted friend or neighbor) to make periodic checks inside your home. They should:
- Flush all toilets so that sewer gases don’t build up, especially if your home is on a septic tank.
- Confirm mail is being held or collected.
- Make sure the irrigation system is working and water outdoor and indoor potted plants.
- Cut the lawn or confirm the landscape service is doing it.
- Adjust the thermostat a day before the end of your trip so you arrive to a comfortable home temperature.
Make Your House Look Lived In
An empty house is like an open invitation to burglars. To keep your house looking occupied:
- Stop the newspaper and mail – or ask a trusted neighbor to pick them up.
- Park your car inside the garage, if you have one.
- Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway occasionally so there’s activity at your house.
- Put at least one light in your house on a timer
- Install a motion-activated sensor on an outdoor.floodlight. (Burglars hate outdoor lighting – and that’s why we love it).
- Make sure your lawn stays trimmed.
Plumbing and Electrical Precautions
Running appliances while you’re away is not only a needless expense, it could also lead to costly problems. To avoid the possibility of an appliance breakdown while you’re away:
- Unplug small appliances and electronic devices.
- Put the water heater in “vacation” mode.
- Turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and all sinks.
- Set your thermostat to a temperature closer to outside temps (warmer in the summer, cooler in the winter) but which still protects your plants, pets and furniture.
General Home Preparation
Other things to consider before your vacation:
- Notify your credit card company and home security company that you’ll be out of town.
- Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly.
- Leave your emergency contact information with a neighbor.
- Dispose of any food that could go bad before you return from vacation.
- Take out the kitchen trash – especially anything that might start to smell.
- Run your garbage disposal with a half-cup of vinegar and some water.