Preparing Your Home For Vacation

Summer is in full swing and many of us are preparing for holidays away from home. Whether you’re going on a weekend road trip or are jet-set for somewhere exotic, follow these tips to make sure your home is safe and secure while you’re away, and ready for a welcoming return.

Ask a friend to check on your house

Having a friend or neighbour check on your home while you’re away will give you peace of mind. They can help you out by bringing in the mail, watering your plants and taking your garbage bin to the street.  Not only will this ensure your plants survive your absence, it will also make your house look lived in, deterring potential break-ins

Rather than hide a key under the flower pot, just give them a spare. Criminals know where to find your hidden key!

Check your home insurance policy

Your home insurance will cover things like fire and water damage, but most insurance companies will not offer coverage if damage was caused if no one has been in the dwelling for more than three or four consecutive days. While every policy is slightly different, it’s important to read it through and take some steps to ensure it remains in force.

Having someone check on your home while you’re away is the best option to make sure your coverage is valid. Plus, if the bottom of your water heater tank decides to drop while you’re away, you want someone to alert you so you can inform your insurance company and arrange for clean up and repairs before too much damage is done.

Turn off your water, heating and cooling system

To avoid water accidents and unwanted insurance claims, turn your water completely off. Be sure to leave jugs of water on the counter so the person who is checking in on your house can still water your plants and pets.  Reset your thermostat so the furnace or air conditioner won’t fire up while you’re away, wasting energy and money. If you have outdoor plants or a lawn that would need to be watered while you’re away, you could also consider purchasing and setting up a rain barrel prior to your vacation that your home’s caregiver could use.

Clean out the fridge and take out the garbage

Coming home to the putrid aromas of rotting food is not the best way to end your wonderful vacation. Before you leave, eat or give away all the perishable food that will expire while you’re away.  Wipe down spills in the fridge and countertops and don’t forget to take out the stinky garbage!

Put your lights on a timer

While having a light on while you’re away might make it look like someone is home, it does look suspicious to lurking criminals if they continuously see the same light on in the middle of the night for days on end. You can purchase inexpensive automatic timers that flick your lights on and off at appropriate times to make the house look occupied. You can even have a radio attached to the timer to come on with your lights. Timers will also reduce your electrical bill while you’re away, and can be found at any hardware store.

Tidy up for a relaxing homecoming

You’ll feel much better about the end of your vacation if you’re returning to a clean and tidy house. Wash and put away your laundry, do the dishes, clean the bathroom and make your bed with fresh sheets.  Even though chores might be the last thing on your mind when preparing for a holiday, you’ll be glad you bothered when you get home.