Left unchecked, mail will likely accumulate beyond your mail box capacity and potentially announce your absence. Add contact names and numbers for any professional services that you annually use. We turn off the main water line into our house before we leave. All kinds of weather could happen in your absence. Long-term: Arrange for a lawn service to take care of your landscaping while you are away. Even if you have your newspapers stopped, newspapers, circulars, and phone books may be dropped at your house. In that way, water was available outside, but the house water was off. Short-term: Mow your lawn and trim shortly before your trip. The reasons are obvious. Leaving your home for 2 or 3 months is one thing.. Long-term: Do the above. 13. Figuring out how to balance the budget for a home that remains empty can be tricky. Thank you, junk mail. Be aware that there are concerns that web cameras of any kind could get hacked allowing not just you to see your house and home, but anyone on the planet. KITCHEN AND LAUNDRY • Clean each appliance thoroughly. The tank won't empty completely, so sponge out what's left in the bottom and transfer it to the bowl. It’s something to consider. closing up your house for an extended trip. If your hot water heater is like most, all you’ll need is a Philips screwdriver. Details: A continually dark house, both inside and out, can be a signal to a burglar that no one is home. It’s also a good idea to have them walk through your house now and then, especially after a bad storm or other extreme weather. Also, have a neighbor, friend or pool service check the pool periodically to make sure the pump is operating properly. -- Small appliances, computers, televisions: Unplug these items. It’s also not a good idea to change your answering machine message to anything implying your absence. Besides, having the light timers in place is a good idea even when you’re just going out to the dinner, or the movies. We have an outside faucet that comes off our water line just after the main enters the house and before it goes on to the remainder of the building. To prevent sewer fumes from entering your home, you can wrap your toilet bowl in saran wrap. Did you remember to lock the sliding doors? With the invention of high-speed internet, the proliferation of high quality small cameras, and the ability to see live streaming video using the cellular connections on our smartphones, it’s now possible to see a live video feed of our house and property from almost anywhere in the world. Just be sure to put a black X on the saran wrap to prevent an accident. This is one nightmare you can avoid. Adjusting your thermostat to 85 degrees or less is recommended. You can use this service for as short as fifteen days or as long as one year. 1. Many of the internet and security system companies now sell and install web camera systems; for a monthly fee. This not only kept the turncoats cut, but it also brought a trusted person to my property on a regular basis. To keep these green back-stabbers in check this past summer, I hired a local college student to mow my lawn and maintain our gardens. To supplement your fake Fido, you can install faux alarm signs and stickers. -- Disposer/drains: Run the disposer. For those of us who travel a month or more at a time, it is sometimes possible to put your expensive cable television services on hold. Long-term: Again, turn up the thermostat to about 85 degrees. Other items, like not hiding house keys, are just tips that you can immediately incorporate into your travel habits. Most of these items (like turning off your house water) take seconds and will become instinctual every time you leave for a long trip. -- Emergency contact: Leave your contact information with a friend or neighbor. A clean refrigerator will be much nicer to come home to. You want to do what is best for the house but hate the idea of paying for unnecessary service. For the rest of us, it’s stop and hold. Whether these properties are empty because their owners are waiting to sell them, because they're second homes or because the house is in probate, the issue of insuring them can be confusing. There are certain things you must do in order to property protect you and your family, and minimize risk while you are away. This is often called “vacation mode” and can be set with a dial under a metal panel on the front of your hot water heater. The answer may not be as clear-cut as you think. A good electrical storm can knock out everything from computers to televisions to small appliances. Provide the dates you will be gone and where you are going. To defeat these scanners, disconnect the receiver and use a manual garage door lock. This will help prevent sewer gas from entering the house while you are gone and can keep parts of plumbing fixtures from drying out or cracking. It is preferable to not leave storm shutters on to help with the illusion of home occupancy. The thieves know about these products and tricks and look for these easy access vulnerabilities. Use a towel to chock the door open. If you did you would come back and have to replace large amounts of dry wall. You can also unplug your garage door opener when you’re away. With a little preparation, and a dose of prevention, none of these fears should keep you from embarking on the long-term trip of a lifetime. Another use for light timers is to have a radio or television that turns on and off. Let your neighbors know how long you will be away and give them additional contacts should you travel beyond cell service. Instead you turn it up to about 82 and just let it run. Long-term: Do the same. To avoid this situation, run a half-cup of vinegar and water in your garbage disposal. Hiding a house key under the mat, in a fake rock, or inside a magnetic house … Whatever you do, it’s important to leave a set of car keys with your trusted neighbors or home watching friends in case there’s a need to move your car in your absence. It makes the work cycle more normal. We were lucky. To prevent this from happening, empty your refrigerator of all perishables, clean the inside, and leave it unplugged and defrosted with the doors open. No worries about home burglaries while boondocking. Some of the items in these checklists might not apply to your house, and there may be other items that you’ll need on your checklist that other people don’t have to consider. The refrigerator and freezer Long-term: Do the above. Mail can be held for up to 30 days, or less. -- Locks: Make sure all your windows are shut and doors are locked before you leave. It also involves preparing your home for your absence. Details: Avoid having to call an exterminator after you return by leaving your kitchen and pantry clean. This keeps the house well above freezing and prevents the pipes from freezing and bursting. For mail being forwarded further distances or for even more extended periods of time, the cost is higher. https://www.ehow.com/how_7543735_close-house-three-months.html No matter how long you'll be gone, whether a few days or several months, here are steps you can take to make your house safer and lower your utility bills. Even the most experienced truck camper owners worry about their homes while they’re away. Perhaps the most important aspect of this preparation is making sure your home appears occupied. Open your faucets to release the pressure. Many home owners have experienced a plumbing leak at one time or another. Unplug unnecessary appliances in preparation for … Before you leave it’s important to verify that the phone numbers the temperature monitors you have programmed are accurate and working. Third, fill some clean gallon jugs with water and put them in the refrigerator. Drain any remaining water from the faucets, long shower head extensions and such. Short-term absences generally mean one week or less. It’s also critical to wash your dishes, empty your coffee pot, and take out the trash before you leave. While I certainly don’t recommend leaving any doors or windows unlocked while you’re away, not everyone will feel it’s necessary to install and pay monthly fees for a security alarm system. First, check your insurance coverage by calling the insurance company or talking to your insurance agent. Stock Up Your Refrigerator. -- Smoke detectors: Make sure they are in working condition. 25. After the first six months, you can extend for another six months. I use a battery trickle charger from Battery Tender. Who knows, but you may also be showing your empty house and all its valuables to the bad guys in the next town. When you get home, check the ice cubes. If necessary, you might purchase an endorsement to your policy to provide coverage for your home while it's vacant. Consider Call-In Temperature Monitors. A vacation requires preparation, including arranging flights, reserving hotel rooms and finding things to do. All of them do essentially the same thing, so purchase the light timers you feel most comfortable programming. That’s a savings of $140 a month for something you’re not using. Short-term: Check your pool-pump settings before you leave to make sure they are where you want them to be. Stop mail service and newspaper deliveries. clean the house thoroughly prior to leaving. I also turn off the water heater. -- Car: If you park your car in the driveway normally and are leaving it while on an extended trip, arrange for a friend or relative to drive it so that it looks like it is being used (and so cobwebs don't develop, a sure signal that no one is home). Details: If you have a pool, continue to run the pump so the pool doesn't develop algae and turn green. While you're gone, have a neighbor or friend turn on the water and run the faucets at least once a month. If there is frost in your freezer, you'll want to wait until that has melted and been cleaned up before you leave. Outdoor floodlights with built in motion sensors are available at Home Depot, Lowes, and Amazon (among others) and do an excellent job at detecting and deterring would-be thieves. If you want your mail forwarded, you request a temporary mail forwarding for $1 USD. Sump pump alarms are also available in case of a flood. Lock your back door. Include the names and contact information for your plumber, electrician, yard service, pool service or other contact should a problem happen while you are away. 12. The house took about 2 hours to get back up to 65 when we came back, but it was comfortable enough to sit and eat dinner within 30 minutes. On many occasions we have shortened or extended mail forwarding based on changing road plans. She enjoys the money and we don’t look unoccupied. But 7 … Empty, wipe down and unplug the refrigerator.  X Research source If you live in an area where freezing pipes can be a problem, drain the toilets, the … That way, they won't be surprised — or put a hold on your card — when they see charges from abroad. If they are intact, stuff stayed frozen. For two or more months, you may need a house sitter. If you did you would come back and have to replace large amounts of dry wall. Then flush your toilets and turn off the water to each toilet at the toilet base. To prepare your home for the elements, it’s a good idea to have your roof inspected, gutters cleaned, and trees trimmed back prior to heading out. 3. With this article we asked our readers for their ideas. In addition, the property can be targeted by burglars out to steal anything and that includes the radiators and other metal in the home such as pipes, for scrap. Needing extensive medical treatment requiring them to spend weeks or months in hospital. Surge protectors are not perfect. Avoid Stinky Garbage Disposal Syndrome (SGDS). 12. “The valves in dishwashers can get stuck in the closed position when they sit around unused for weeks on end,” says Shank. For more information about mail forwarding in Canada visit CanadaPost.ca. If you have a humidistat, it should be set to 35 percent. Complications arise if you allow someone to stay at your house for a week or two while you are away. Sources from the Phoenix area: Tom Hines, APS energy-efficiency expert; Kathleen Mascarenas, SRP energy-efficiency spokeswoman; Nathan Morey, SRP senior analyst, energy efficiency; and Linda Stanfield, owner of Ben Franklin the Punctual Plumber. In either case, you will likely need to keep the main water line on. When it comes to a vacant house in the summertime, what temperature should you leave your house at? Drain spouts should be secured to take heavy rain away from your house. Lock the door between your garage and your house. Mix a half cup of vinegar with a cup of water and pour down. As a final measure against a water leak, you can install a water flow sensor on your main water supply pipe. 1. To ensure that your home stays at these temperatures, and runs at peak efficiency, it’s important to have your heating and/or air conditioning system recently inspected and serviced. It’s a minor detail, but closing a fireplace flue will prevent bats, bird, squirrels, and other critters from entering your home. On the topic of garbage, you may need to arrange to have your household garbage taken to the street, or have the cans pulled back to the house. • Unplug and clean the refrigerator interior. Remove and clean the defrost pan at the bottom of your refrigerator. This will prevent algae and mildew from building up in your toilet bowl and basin. Especially in the summer, a refrigerator works better with a cold mass inside to help maintain the temperature. An empty fridge would have more start and stops then one with something in it. Long-term: Clean out the refrigerator; either throw items away or give them to a neighbor. People usually leave their primary residence unoccupied for various legitimate reasons, some of which may well not be their choice. Just kidding! 7. There is no sense in maintaining a hot tank of water for months when you’re away. Stop the Mail and Newspaper Deliveries. Some are invalid if you haven’t hired a house sitter for absences of more than 21 days. So much of this process is second nature to me as I have an antique pickup truck that gets put away every winter. Empty your refrigerator 2. Details: Why run up your electric bill heating water that you're not going to be there to use? When you’re away from the house for an extended period of time – for example, if you leave on a vacation or the property is a summer home or rental property that is vacant – there are additional factors that should be considered when deciding whether to heat or cool the unoccupied house. 11. Here are 11 precautions you might not have thought of for keeping your empty house safe while you’re away. Another exception is if your home has a sprinkler system or you want to have outside water available to water the garden or lawn. This is exactly what we do, and it works well. “The valves in dishwashers can get stuck in the closed position when they sit around unused for weeks on end,” says Shank. Place five-gallon buckets of water around the inside of the house. No fretting about flooding fifty miles down forest service roads. Leave the air conditioner on, but crank the thermostat up to around 88 degrees. There are many old-school analog and new digitally programmable light timers on the market. That same lighting strike will also travel through coax cable, so anything – modems, computers, televisions, etc. No matter how long you'll be gone, whether a few days or several months, here are steps you can take to make your house safer and lower your utility bills. While they are walking through, they can make sure no door hang tags, leaflets, or packages have been left at your door. Still trying to sell your home? The answer may not be as clear-cut as you think. Any dead trees that could fall on your home or property should also be removed. We experienced a plumbing leak when we were home and were able to correct the problem quickly. While you’re at it, make sure the dishwasher is empty. -- Security company: If you have one, notify the company that you will be gone. Also, have the friend flush toilets and run the dishwasher. If you have a spa, turn off the heat. First, clear out all of the perishables. Well, hearing a radio on or hearing and seeing the light from a television is another way to signal that your home is occupied. There is one possible solution if your water system happens to be laid out in a handy manner. Some people leave for 3 months and some leave for 7 months. What won’t fit in your camper’s refrigerator can be offered to your friendly neighbor as part of maintaining the friendship. Details: Toilets can collect bacteria, which can cause stains. Details: An air-conditioner accounts for about half of your annual electrical bill, says Tom Hines, energy-efficiency expert at Arizona Public Services. In the 1990 classic Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin’s character famously used a movie to scare away ‘The Wet Bandits’. Short-term: Turn off all lights except the ones you want as security measures. When it comes to a vacant house in the summertime, what temperature should you leave your house at? Even better, you can adjust the amount of time your mail is forwarded online. We are not going to be in our FL house for about 3- 4 months in the summer. Possible scenarios include: Spending significant periods of a given year at a holiday residence, for example an apartment in Spain. The problem: Appliances in an empty home can also take a hit. Having read many insurance company recommendations on this topic, the prevailing opinion is that it’s best to leave your blinds exactly as they are when you’re home. It’s no good to be programming your light timers for the first time moments before locking the door and then wonder during your trip if you programmed them correctly. Figuring out how to balance the budget for a home that remains empty can be tricky. In case of a fire, flood, or other disaster, these photographs will prove what you had, and in what overall condition it was in. The water heater will run occasionally but not nearly as often as it does normally. An empty house is a target for crime and criminals have been known to store stolen goods in empty houses, commercially grow cannabis in abandoned homes or sell drugs from the house. We pay a neighborhood kid to do this. Consider a Professional Security System. Whoo-wee! With his help, our property didn’t appear abandoned. The ideal way to do this is to leave your car parked in a garage, out of the elements, and have a neighbor start and drive the car every week or two. The problem: Appliances in an empty home can also take a hit. Details: An untrimmed lawn can be a sign to burglars that you are away from home. Even though you will not be home, it’s still important to that your smoke detectors are functioning properly. For a more complete discussion, there are many additional tips to leaving a car behind which are covered in an excellent article by Edmunds titled, “How to Prep Your Car for Long-Term Storage”. One way to do this is to run the water heater until it is empty and let it refill again. While that may be the official limit, our small town post office has held our mail for three months at a time. Unless you have a house sitter coming to water them, you would come back to a house full of dead plants! Original Poster. The best part of the above recommendations is the peace of mind they’ll give you if you’re away from home. Put Cable Television and Internet On Hold. Whenever possible, use deadbolt locks. Unless you have a house sitter coming to water them, you would come back to a house full of dead plants! If that’s your situation, you will need to leave your internet service running. Also throw in a couple of steaks and a bottle of wine for good measure. The thermostat only showed 50F at that time, but the air surrounding us was toasty warm. Home » Important Truck Camping Tips » 30 Ways To Prep Your Home for a Long-Term Trip. Leave all the interior doors open so the air can circulate inside the house. Make sure your security lights are outfitted with CFL bulbs, which save on energy and are long-lasting. Avoid telling the world your home is going to be empty. Before leaving your seasonal home, perishable items should be eaten, given away, or discarded. Short-term: Turn up the thermostat to about 85 degrees. When properties are left vacant or are unoccupied, steps should be taken to prevent or mitigate losses due to heating system, electrical system, water damage, vandalism or other causes. Use a towel to chock the door open. Toss or donate unopened boxes of food (or, if you plan to keep them, put them in plastic bags to deter pests.). These temperature monitors can be accessed via cell phone while traveling. And don’t forget to make sure that all of your windows are also locked. Naturally you might think taking pictures is what you do once you’re on the road and exploring new places. If left unchecked, these green Benedict Arnolds will grow to reveal our absence, and invite the less scrupulous to have a look. If you post that you are leaving your home empty for a few months, you may be sending strangers an invitation to burglarize your home. You also need to pay for a high-speed internet connection while you’re away, but you may be paying for that anyway. Ask a friend or neighbor you trust to water your plants. Other considerations for any length of vacation. Besides, many appliances have an electrical draw when plugged-in and turned off. Thank you helpful neighbors. Inform local police the house will be empty. Follow the instructions in this article and you’ll be truck camping cool as a cucumber. On the other hand, there are companies that sell do-it-yourself kits including the web cameras, digital hubs, and software that allows you to install, set-up, and use such a system. If they are melted, stuff has thawed and must be thrown away. It's the same basic example. You could even put a “Beware of Dog” sign or sticker on your door. Short-term: Throw out perishables such as milk that will expire while you're gone. 9. There are many stories of folks leaving a house and forgetting this critical step only to return to broken pipes inside their walls. In a similar way, we told our local post office that we would be out of town for an extended period. Don't leave the gutters clogged. If there is frost in your freezer, you'll want to wait until that has melted and been cleaned up before you leave. Put some ice cubes in a bowl in the freezer section of the refrigerator (and also in your chest/deep freezer if you have one). Hiding a house key under the mat, in a fake rock, or inside a magnetic house key box stuck to the underside of an outdoor pipe is never a good idea. Here is a golden tip for extra safety: Do not post that you are leaving on an extended vacation or business trip on Facebook! Don't keep anything that is likely to go bad during the … Review your policy and talk with your insurance agent. If your electrical items are plugged into surge protectors, there’s no sense in leaving them plugged in and risking the damage. 5. If necessary, you might purchase an endorsement to your policy to provide coverage for your home while it's vacant. Additionally, remove garage door openers and valuables from cars stored in your garage. Details: Don't come home from your trip to a refrigerator filled with spoiled food. In Flordia, specially the humid months, you do not leave the house with no A/C. Have a friend periodically flush the toilets while you are gone. Activate Motion Activated Outdoor Floodlights. Garage doors with electric garage door openers are vulnerable to thieves with garage door opener scanners. Short term: Set the temperature on "vacation" mode. Inviting them for a nice dinner before and after your trip will serve to reinforce the relationship and build your friendship. Take care of your yard. Turn your water off at the main valve, every house has one. 5. Leaving your house empty for over 3 months? In general, folks want to close their blinds to prevent the unsavory from peering in and seeing unprotected valuables. Clean out your fridge and pantry of … 20. Unplug and reset the thermostat: Temporarily adjust the thermostat so the air-conditioner or heater won't waste energy by running in an empty house. 11. If the above list feels a bit overwhelming, it shouldn’t. Depending on how long you will be away, turning off the main water supply line where it comes into the house is highly recommended. keeping your blinds as they are is the best balance. Take any live plants you have with you. You’ll be paying for that hidden draw while you’re away. s3londonuk. Here’s a good article from the Chicago Tribune, “Alarms Should Sound On Deal”. Doing so will still protect your plants, furniture and other belongings without running up your energy bill. After you do that, turn off the water to the toilet as added insurance and flush it. These are readily available on the internet and are designed to have the bad guys looking for easier targets. It’s a nearly universal phenomenon — that moment of panic in the middle of the night before leaving home for an extended period of time wondering what loose ends you’ve forgotten to tie. If you’re on well water, turn off the pump when you leave for a long trip. Before our last trip, I installed a shut-off in the section between the line to the outside faucet and the continuing supply to the house. Short-term: Turn off water at the main shut-off valve, unless some household items require it to remain on. If your home is on oil heat, have the tanks filled. As you can see, you are relying on your trusted neighbor(s) or home-watching friends quite a bit to help keep your home safe and intervening in any disasters. The other is to keep the refrigerator running. -- Mail: Contact the U.S. A trusted neighbor can check and answer these questions instantly. 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Bottom and transfer it to the rotten smell of a given year at a time a lawn service to care. Is safe next time you leave you annually use you with this article we asked readers!: Arrange for a high-speed internet connection while you are away are one of most. The system of home occupancy a clean refrigerator will be gone haven ’ hired! Adjust the amount of time your mail is as easy as going onto and... Be a sign to burglars that you can extend for another six months and! Garage and your family, and trees security company: if you have a neighbor or contact. Says Tom Hines, energy-efficiency expert at Arizona Public services plans or leaving house empty for 3 months!
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