How to Prepare Your Home When You’re on Vacation

holiday travel

The holidays are here and that means airports across the country are going to be filled with people traveling to visit friends and family. If you are one of those travelers, you’ll potentially be leaving your home unattended for a few days or even a few weeks. While you’re gone, there are a few things you’ll want to take care of so you can enjoy your travels worry free.

Now, you leave your home unattended at least 8 hours a day and even while you’re sleeping at night, so it won’t take too much preparation for when you’re gone on vacation. Everything should be fine – these tips will help with saving a little bit on your energy bill and making sure that things don’t freeze over in your absence. Not to mention you’ll want to come home to a clean, comfortable house and these will allow you to do just that.

Clean out the fridge and get rid of perishables

You’ll want to start this project a few days before you actually leave and involves taking a few moments to clean out the fridge, take out the trash, and get rid of any perishables. By cleaning out the fridge and pantry you’ll prevent any unwelcome odors from being present when you finally return and won’t have a mess to deal with. In the winter, if you came home to some rotten foods you wouldn’t even be able to open the windows and air it out – it’s too cold!

Using a box of baking soda in your fridge goes a long way for controlling unwanted odors. It’s as simple as opening the box and leaving it in your fridge for it to neutralize any odors.  

Turn off and Unplug Electronics

Large appliances like your refrigerator can be left on, but small appliances and electronics that won’t be used can be turned off. Even if your TV isn’t powered on, it is still drawing small amounts of electricity. Over time, this can add up and unplugging it prevents this from happening.

If you use power strips, some allow you to cut the power without actually unplugging everything. That will make it a little easier when it comes time to put everything back together, though unplugging it directly is just as simple. The hardest part is making sure you didn’t miss any of them.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Even though you won’t be home, setting your thermostat at a lower temperature than normal keeps everything humming along and also helps to prevent your pipes from freezing. If the internal temperature of your home drops, pipes with water in them can potentially burst as they start to freeze. Because of that, we don’t recommend setting the temperature lower than 40.

An ideal temperature is in the range of 50-60 degrees fahrenheit. The higher end of this range is good for homes that have exposed or exterior piping. Homes with insulation and internal piping can run on the cooler end of that range.

Another benefit of running your thermostat while you’re gone is humidity management. This isn’t necessarily a problem out here in Colorado, but if your home is constantly warming or cooling condensation can start to form creating a humid environment.

Turn off the water supply

As another preventative measure for preventing the pipes from bursting, turn off the water supply altogether. You’ll then want to relieve the pressure in the pipes by turning them on and letting them flush themselves out.

If you’re expecting especially cold weather while you’re gone this is a great option to help keep your pipes intact.

Lock Your Windows and Doors

As you’re finally heading out the door, do one last walk through to make sure all of your windows and doors are locked. A few days before this, ensure all of your doors and windows are sealing properly. If they are not, it can make your HVAC system work harder than it has to to keep your home warm.

If you’re running out the door and don’t have time to properly seal up a window or door, a towel can work on the floor to block the door or even a little tape over the seam of a window. It won’t be ideal, but it can at least tide you over until you can get the proper supplies.

Have a Friend Check-In

To make sure all is well back home, enlist a friend or neighbor to swing by and check in on things. If you have any plants that need watering they can handle that and while they’re inside they can check to make sure your faucets are working (or not if they’ve been turned off), humidity is kept to a minimum and the doors and windows have remained sealed.

Even if they aren’t checking in with you constantly, just knowing someone is keeping an eye on your things can help you relax on your vacation instead of worrying about your home.

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