[Estimated read time: 6 minutes]
Summertime is one of the most popular times of the year for travels. Many families pack it up and head south for their annual summer vacation.
However, this could be a great time for Murphy's Law to pay you a visit.
Below are some of the proper steps to take as a homeowner so your house is in better hands while you are away.
Checklist: How to Prepare Your House for Vacation
1. Put lamps on timers
Leaving the house dark all week may not be a good idea. If you haven't already, consider buying a couple timers for the lights in your house and have them set to automatically turn on at different times in the evening while you're away.
2. Double check all locks on windows and doors
When was the last time you checked all the windows and doors throughout the house? Before leaving for vacation, one quick and easy tip is to go around and check every window in the house and make sure they are all closed and locked securely.
3. Double check you Sump Pump
It is common for many homes in Louisville to have sump pumps. Before leaving for your trip, make sure that your sump pump is functioning properly. Last thing you want is to return home to a flooded basement.
4. Turn back water heater
This is a good way to conserve unnecessary energy cost while you are away. Turn back the temperature of your hot water heater so it is not reheating the same water throughout the week. If it is an older hot water heater with poor insulation, the heat may escape easier causing your water heater to run more frequently while you are gone.
5. Make sure all smoke detectors are working properly
This isn’t necessarily a tip solely to prepare you home for vacation but more overall a safety tip for any homeowner. Check to make sure all smoke detectors are functioning properly or if they need to be replaced.
6. Clean out the fridge
The week before your vacation, skip out on your annual grocery store trip. Do your best at going through and eating what is available in the fridge. Just days before your vacation, go through and get rid of any food that may not last while you are on vacation.
7. Clean out the Pantry
Same goes as the refrigerator. Toss out or use any opened food. Such as bread, bagels, chips etc. Use up any food that may go bad before you get back home from your summer vacation.
8. Take out the trash
Do you not leave your trash can full while you are gone. Especially if there is food in the garbage! The last thing you want is to come home to the smell of rotten food in the trash. Take out the trash just before you leave for your summer vacation.
9. Turn back Thermostat
As a homeowner, a programmable thermostat is a great investment. If you do not have one installed already-consider adjusting your thermostat at least five degrees so it is not constantly running and cooling an empty home.
10. Turn off main water
This is one for Murphy’s Law. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. When preparing your home for vacation you want to prevent from any possibility that there may be any kind of water leak while you are gone. This can be a very costly depending on the problem. Consider shutting off your main water shut-off before leaving for vacation.
11. Unplug small appliances and electronics
While you're away on vacation, consider unplugging all electronics and small appliances that do not need to be running or plugged in while you are away. Unfortunately, your refrigerator will have to stay plugged in and running.
12. Leave a car in the driveway
If you do not have an extra vehicle to park in the driveway consider asking a friend or neighbor periodically stop by to make it appear if there is traffic in and out of the house while you are gone.
13. Motion detector flood lights outside
Motion detector lights on the exterior of the home is a great feature to have - even while you are not on vacation. If you haven't already, consider installing a couple motion detectors around the outside of your home to help scare away any possible thieves.
14. Have a family member or neighbor get your mail
Some people may consider calling USPS to put their daily mail on hold while they are on vacation. Another option is to have a neighbor or family member stop by a couple times during the week to bring your mail inside.
15. Make sure your yard is cut
Consider cutting the grass just the day before you leave for vacation. It is even good idea to cut it a little shorter than usual so it will not be too long before you get back. A yard that looks like it hasn’t been cut for weeks is a good indicator to a criminal that the home may possibly be vacant.
16. Remove any hidden spare keys that are outside
Burglars are fully aware of the old adage of hiding a spare key under a rock near the front door. Remove any spare keys around the outside that may be too easy to locate to prevent any unwanted entry.
17. Adequate water for your plants
Many homeowners this time of year have landscaping that needs to be regularly maintained. If you do not have a lawn care service that routinely comes by - you may want to ask a friend or neighbor to come by and water any plants or flowers if it happens to be a dry week without any rain.
Nathan Garrett is a local real estate agent in Louisville KY. Creator of the GarrettsRealty.com website. He specializes in Real Estate in Louisville and Oldham County. Questions about buying or selling? Send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org