If you have the luxury of taking a vacation this winter, in addition to your packing checklist, there is another checklist you should make sure to cross off! With the cold temperatures and unpredictable weather, it is important to take precautionary measures to prepare your home for while you are away. We have created your master to-do list to make sure your home will be taken care of during your winter travels!
Checklist of Tasks When Leaving Your Home in the Winter
- Adjust heat, turn off the main water line, and water conditioners
One way to save energy while you are away is to turn your heat down, not off. Setting your thermostat to 60°F will prevent your pipes from freezing while you are gone. Make sure to turn off your water line and if you have well water, make sure to turn off the circuit breaker. A running toilet or a leaking faucet can waste a tremendous amount of water and a broken washing machine hose or pipe could spell disaster while you are gone. Turn off your water heater and unplug your water conditioners. Since nobody will be home, this will eliminate the demand for water and if a pipe would leak, minimizes any damage that would occur.
- Unplug anything using electricity that you do not need
You’d be amazed at how much electricity is being used on an ongoing basis. Before you leave for vacation, go around your house and unplug any electrical devices that don’t need to stay on. This includes portable fans, your entertainment unit, coffee makers, chargers, computers, etc. Even though the device could be powered off, it still uses power in the background. This will save you money on your electric bill while you are away.
- Stop the mail
One quick and easy task to do before you go away is either stopping your mail or arranging for someone to pick up your mail. You can easily stop your mail by filling out an online form from the United States Postal Service’s site.
- Call your bank and cell service provider
Anytime you travel far from home, it’s important to notify your bank that you are planning to do so. Majority of banks have an automated system to make this a very easy task for you to complete and gives you the peace of mind that your card will still work while you’re on vacation. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may also want to contact your cell phone provider. If you are leaving the country, you will want to ask them what your roaming fees are and what settings you need to change on your phone so there are no unexpected or additional charges to your phone bill.
- Take out all trash and clean out the fridge
Before you leave, don’t forget to empty all of the trash cans and clean out the fridge. Make sure you look at the expiration dates on your fridge items. Nobody wants to come home to a smelly surprise from something spoiling or rotting! Ask a friend or neighbor to take your trash cans and recycle bin back to where you typically store it so it won’t be at the curb the whole time you are away.
- Have someone on standby to shovel your driveway
When it snows, it can be a clear giveaway that no one is home if the driveway and sidewalks are not shoveled. This could be exactly what a potential thief needs to see to know that no one is home. Talk to your neighbor, or a close friend to make arrangements to have your driveway shoveled if it snows while you are gone. In addition, you won’t risk getting a fine for not shoveling your sidewalk within the given amount of time.
- Set your lights on a timer
We recommend keeping a few lamps plugged in and set to timers to make it look like someone is home. This will help deter someone from thinking the home is empty.
- Backup for your security system
If you have a security system, make sure that everything is activated and ready to go. Depending on how long your vacation is, you may want to have someone come and check on your house. If you do, make sure they know how to use the alarm system. Also, check with your security provider to see if you can add them to the notification list. That way, if someone were to break into your home and the system goes off, they can be the point of contact to report to your home after the police arrive.
- Be careful about posting on social media
Social media is now part of our everyday life, where it’s common place to share what you are doing, what you’re eating, and where you’re going. While it’s great to show your friends and family how much fun you’re having on vacation, be mindful of how much information you’re sharing on social media. If that information gets into the wrong hands, it may be an alert that you are not home and could put your home and belongings at risk for burglary.
- Give trip information to friends or family
Whether you are traveling alone or with others, always make sure you share your detailed trip plans with someone you trust. Share your flight plans, where you will be staying, and what you plan on doing. In the event that something were to happen, someone close to you is aware of your plans.
We wish you safe travels as you prepare for your winter vacation. As spring approaches, give RSC Heating and Air Conditioning a call and we will make sure your unit is ready to function at its fullest potential to keep your home comfortable as the weather warms up.