Touring the globe or seeing the expansive beauty of the United States is something that many people aspire to accomplish in life. For those of us lucky enough to enjoy extended traveling, that excitement can quickly turn into worry and angst once the reality of planning sets in. To put that worry behind you so that you can enjoy your adventure to the fullest, K. Hovnanian has compiled a vacation checklist to help prepare your home for a long-term trip:
Have Someone Watch over Your Home
Knowing that you have a trusted friend or neighbor keeping an eye on your home and taking care of minor chores while you are gone will be one of the best ways to keep your mind at ease during vacation. To ensure their availability, make sure to ask several months in advance. It is wise to ask more than one person in case an emergency comes up and one of them is no longer available. Once you have confirmed that someone is watching over your home, compile a list of tasks and instructions that you will need them to do, such as:
- Watering the plants
- Taking care of any pets
- Retrieving your mail
- Checking the security system
- Turning on/off lights to make the home appear occupied
If you plan on having multiple people watching your home while you are away, make sure that you tell them about each other. Use your own discretion on how you want to thank your neighbor or friend for helping you, but a gift or card can be a thoughtful way to show your gratitude.
Home Preparation Tips
Don’t worry if you don’t have anyone available to watch over your home while you are gone—there are several precautionary steps that you can take to lower the risk of property damage. Even if you have someone watching over your house, many of these steps are still applicable. Nobody wants to come back from their dream vacation, just to find that their home was damaged from a busted pipe or shorted circuit. To reduce the risk of damage, follow these steps:
Schedule an HVAC Service Before Leaving
In the weeks leading up to your vacation, you should schedule an HVAC service to make sure that everything is working and cleaned properly. This step is critically important if you are going on a long-term trip. You may also want to consider setting your thermostat to a lower temperature if nobody is staying at your home. This will keep your heating costs down, as well as mitigate possible damage to the furniture or flooring.
Check Your Plumbing
To keep a busted or leaky pipe from damaging your home while you are gone, you should have a professional check your plumbing before leaving. If you are leaving for a long-term trip and do not have anyone watching your house, consider turning off the water supply. If your vacation falls in the winter, you may need to drain the water from your pipes. If you elect not to drain the pipes, you will need to keep your house warm while you are away to keep them from freezing and busting. Consult with your professional plumber to find out what the proper steps are for your home and situation.
Unplug Unnecessary Electrical Appliances
Unplugging all unnecessary appliances, chargers, and extension cords from their outlets before you leave will greatly reduce the chances of a fire while you are gone. This home preparation checklist includes, but is not limited to:
- Gaming Systems
- Phone Chargers
- Extension Cords
- Curling Irons or Hair Dryers
- Other Home Appliances
If you have someone staying at the house while you are gone, use your best judgment on what they will need and what can be unplugged. If you are going on a long-term trip, consider having an electrician look at your electrical panels, wiring, and outlets before leaving.
Tidy Up Your Home and Property
There is nothing better than coming home from a long, relaxing vacation and remembering that you cleaned the house before leaving. To make sure you don’t come back to an unnecessary headache, take a few days before you leave to tidy up. Here are some additional home precautions to consider if you are leaving for a month or longer:
Organize your fridge and make sure all foods that will spoil are thrown away
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors if needed
Remove dead trees or large overhanging branches that could damage your property
Clean your gutters
Have your fireplace inspected and consider having a chimney guard installed
Double-check that all windows and doors are locked and sealed properly
Arrange for someone to mow grass or clear snow if needed
While most of us are guilty of posting vacation pictures on social media, this is not a habit that is likely to change. However, you need to be safe about the information that you post. Posting about your upcoming vacation on social media could notify a potential thief that your home is going to be vacant. Double-check that your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts have the proper privacy settings in place and remove anyone from your friend list that you don’t know before posting about your travel plans.
You are almost ready to head off into the sunset and enjoy your long-term trip, but there are some other last-minute home safety tips to keep in mind before you leave:
- Make sure your security system is armed and working properly
- Store your valuables in a safety deposit box, or in a home safe
- Secure the deadbolt lock on exterior doors
- Confirm locks on sliding glass doors are in working order
- Put a hold on newspaper and mail delivery
If you have taken all of the proper steps mentioned above, you are ready to go relax and enjoy yourself. K. Hovnanian Homes hopes that you have a wonderful extended vacation. If you want to come back to the perfect home, consider our gorgeous villa model: