Going on vacation or leaving for the season is great but requires a lot of preparation, both for you personally and for the house you’ll be leaving. It’s helpful to have a checklist so you can cover all your bases and enjoy a worry-free time away.
To help get your home prepped for your absence, be sure to check the following:
(1) ADJUST THE TEMPERATURE
When you’re away, a good way to conserve energy is to adjust the temperature. You won’t need optimal comfort levels, so plan to keep a steady temperature around 5 degrees higher than usual for warm months, or 5 degrees lower than usual for cold months. You need minimal coolness in warmer months to protect your furnishings and flooring from warping, to prevent paint from bubbling and peeling, and to discourage the growth of mold and mildew. Likewise, minimal heat in winter will help keep your water pipes from bursting if temperatures outside drop below freezing. A remotely programmable thermostat is a convenient way to check the temperature in your house from a remote location.
(2) ADJUST SETTING ON WATER HEATER
If you want to save energy by not heating water you won’t be using, lower the setting on your water heater. However, if you are gone during cold weather, be sure to keep it high enough to prevent water in the lines from freezing.
(3) TURN OFF WATER AT SOURCE
You don’t want any unexpected leaks while you’re out of town, so give yourself peace of mind by turning off the water lines that supply your washing machine and toilets.
(4) UNPLUG APPLIANCES/ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT
Since you won’t be using them, go ahead and unplug certain appliances while you’re gone (that does not include the refrigerator or HVAC equipment, of course!) – this includes your lamps and electronic equipment. The latter items will leak energy, even when they’re not in use. Unplugging will save on energy consumption as well as protect items from any storm surges. Use surge protectors for whatever you leave plugged in.
(5) SET ALARMS AND LIGHT TIMERS
Set your interior and exterior timers to come on and off at appropriate times during the day and night while you’re gone. If you have an alarm system, double check it and make sure your motion detectors are in good working order.
(6) OPEN INTERIOR DOORS
Having free flow inside your home keeps the air circulating properly throughout the house. You don’t want to create hot interior pockets where plants might die, or cold areas where pipes might burst. Leave your sink cabinets open for that reason as well.
(7) LOCK EXTERIOR WINDOWS AND DOORS
Before you leave, double check to make sure you’ve closed and locked all doors and windows. It not only discourages break-ins but closing everything properly ensures your HVAC system will run as efficiently as possible.
If you’re unsure about any of these steps – for example, which taps to turn off or how to reset the temperature on your water heater – you can contact a local service technician to help.