Summer vacation is a time to relax, leave the city and get some sun. But in the frantic rush to pack the bags and load up the car, people often forget to prep the home for their departure, an important step that can keep the house safe and save money.
So to make sure your home is in tip-top shape while you are away and ready upon your return, here are some tips to follow before you take off this summer.
Keep Your Home Safe
Thieves love to take advantage of vacationing homeowners, since it’s the perfect chance to pull off a robbery that won’t be detected for days or weeks. So to protect your home, start by covering the basics. Put a hold on newspaper and magazine subscriptions, get someone to pick up your mail and hire someone to mow the lawn. Any steps you can take to avoid the appearance that your home has been abandoned will help keep thieves away. For added protection, install a timer for your lights so that the house isn’t dark every night.
If you plan to be away for more than a week or two, you might even consider a security upgrade. A security system is an added expense, but it’s a small price to pay to deter buglers and give you peace of mind while you lounge on the beach.
While the vacation itself might cost you a pretty penny, you can save some money by following a few energy-saving steps at home before you leave.
You don’t need to cool your abode when no one is around, so start by turning off the air conditioner. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set the air conditioning to come back on a few hours before you return; that way you don’t have to come back to a stuffy house.
Vampire energy is power that your gadgets draw while in standby mode. That flat screen TV might looks like it’s off, but it’s drawing small amounts of energy that really add up over days and weeks. Unplug computers, stereos and other devices while you’re away to keep the energy suckers at bay.
Your water heater is also hard at work keeping your water warm even when you’re not using any. To save a few bucks, change the setting on the tank to lower the unit to the lowest temperature possible. Some units even have a “vacation mode” especially for this purpose.
Prep the Pool
Unless you want your pool to play host to the Swamp Thing while you’re out of town, you’ll have to run the pool pump a little to keep the scourge of algae at bay. But when the pool isn’t in use, you can reduce the pump’s runtime to six hours a day.
You also want to make sure the pool is well covered, which will reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation.
Around the Home
If you have a house sitter, gather up all your houseplants in one place, making it easier to water them, while ensuring none gets missed. If you don’t have anyone to look after your plants, you might consider an automated watering system like the Claber Oasis, which sells for about $80 and will allow for a steady trickle of water into potted plants while you’re away.
Finally, before you leave, make a checklist and do a final walkthrough right before you go. That way, you have total peace of mind and you can fully enjoy your vacation without worry.