If you are anything like me, you get really excited about seeing the first blooms of spring. They signify warmer days, less hibernation, and more importantly vacation season. Unfortunately, for many, going on vacation can cause a bit of anxiety. Many are concerned that when they return home, it will not be in the same condition as they left it. Some are concerned about theft. Others may be concerned that there could be a plumbing leak that will cause extensive damage while they are away. And the most common? “Will my house still be there or will it just be one big pile of ashes?” That last one may seem a little extreme but the truth is that these things happen every year while people are on vacation. The good news is that a lot of these scenarios can be avoided by a little planning.
Probably the best way to reduce the chance of an incident is to make arrangements for someone to stay at your home while you are away. The theory here is that if someone is there, then damages caused by a plumbing leak, or a fire could be contained or possibly avoided all together. Your house guest can also reduce the chance of a theft simply because of his presence.
Now I know some of you are thinking you’re not comfortable with someone staying at your home while you’re away. Well, there are still things you can do to reduce the chance that an incident will occur in your home.
The first preventative measure you can take is to turn off the water to your home. Generally, every home has a main water valve that when turned off, eliminates the flow of water from the main source. It’s typically located near a hot water heater or on the main water supply pipe to the home. This guarantees that if you had a plumbing leak, the damages would only be subject to whatever amount of water remained in the interior pipes. Trust me, damages caused by 5-10 gallons of water are a lot less than damages resulting from 5-7 days of continuous water flow.
The second thing you can do is unplug any unnecessary electronics like a toaster, coffee maker, computer, or even a room deodorizer. The first advantage to this is that many electronics in your home consume electricity even when they are not being used; unplugging them eliminates that consumption. The other advantage is safety. Several fires are caused each year by small electronic devices throughout the home. Unplugging them eliminates the risk of an electrical short or a fired caused by overheating.
The third measure you can take is to give the illusion that someone is home. You can hold mail delivery to your home, which can now be done via the Internet. You might think about adding a dusk sensor to the outside lights of your home so the lights come on when it’s dark and go off when the sun comes up. You may even consider having a trusted neighbor park their vehicle in your driveway when they are home.
Vacation should be a time to relax. By following these steps, you can concentrate less on the worry and more on the fun. For more tips on protecting your home while you’re on vacation, refer to “A Vacation Checklist for Your Home” on our website.
For more great information on having a safe and enjoyable vacation, refer to our “How To Prepare Your Car For A Road Trip” blog post, or any of the other vacation posts on our blog.