Vacations are supposed to be about relaxation and letting go of stress, not wondering if we remembered to turn off the water before we left. Unfortunately, many disasters, such as floods and fire damage, can occur while property owners are away for an extended period of time.
But the best way to avoid these traumatic situations is to go through a checklist before you leave so you can have some peace of mind when you are gone. Here are some of the major steps you can take on how to prepare your home for vacation.
Home Preparation: Don’t Make It Look Like You Are Not Home
Homes are much more likely to be robbed and damaged when they look vacant. Follow these tips on how to keep your home look lived in, even when it’s not.
- Have your neighbor collect your mail and newspapers. Just by seeing multiple newspapers on your driveway will make it obvious that you are not home. Your neighbor probably won’t mind picking them up for a few days.
- Put a few lights in your house on a timer. Timers are relatively cheap, are available at any hardware store, and can be easily connected to a lamp or other light fixture.
- Park your car in the garage. While this won’t make your house look occupied, it will prevent any windows from being broken and future theft incidents.
- Install a motion-sensor light. Burglars are much less likely to choose your home if it lights up when someone walks by.
- Schedule lawn maintenance. If you will be gone for longer than a week, ask one of the neighborhood kids to keep the lawn trimmed in exchange for a few bucks.
- Ask your neighbor to park their car in your driveway. If you have good relations, surely they wouldn’t mind so it looks like you are home.
Home Preparation: Prevent Disasters
One of the most common causes of large losses includes accidents starting and spreading while the owner is away for an extended period of time. Be sure to prevent these risks and secure your home from a future disaster.
- Turn off the water. If a pipe were to burst the day after you leave, you probably wouldn’t notice until a few days later. You could then be coming home to a few feet of standing water in flood damage.
- Unplug small electric appliances. Just as if a pipe were to burst, it is possible for lightning to hit the circuit board and create a spark through small appliances. If it were to come in contact with any flammable materials, the situation can quickly turn deadly.
- Turn off the gas. While it is not common, gas leaks can occur and explode an entire home, destroying everything. Taking this small step now can prevent a traumatic situation in the future.
- Ensure your smoke detectors are in good working condition. You can also install an alarm that will notify the local fire department as soon as they go off. This will surely prevent severe fire damage.
- Leave emergency contact information with your neighbor. If your neighbor does notice anything abnormal while you are away, they will be able to contact you in any case of emergency.
General Home Preparation Tips
While these situations will not cause a disaster, they can prevent some major inconveniences when you come back.
- Prepare your pets. While many property owners will board their pets or pay for a sitter, some can easily become anxious or stressed. Make sure their needs are fully accommodated while you are away.
- Dispose of any food that may go bad while you are gone. When natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and meat go bad, they can produce a horrific smell that can spread throughout the home. They can even create a huge mess that will end up in a big cleanup job when you come back.
- Take out the garbage. It doesn’t help to throw out any food that may go bad if you don’t take the trash out; the odor will still spread throughout the property.
- Pour a half-cup of vinegar and water down the drain. If the sink or garbage disposal is not ran for a long period of time, it can also start to stink.
- Prepare your plants. It would be sad if you were to come home and all of your plants are yellow and dying. Ask your neighbor or a friend to come by and water them on a regular basis.
- Clean the house. You will most likely be extremely tired when you return. Do yourself a favor and tidy up the house before you leave so you don’t have to worry about anything when coming home. Professional carpet cleaning would also be a good idea to keep the furnished rooms looking nice.
Emergency Disaster Restoration
While there are steps you can take now to prepare your house for vacation, not all situations can be prevented. But if your property has experienced a natural disaster while you were away, it is essential to take immediate action.
Known for responding right away to severe property and contents damage, ServiceMaster is available 24/7 around the country to return homes to their original condition. Whether a pipe had burst or a circuit had sparked a flame, their professional technicians are trained and experienced to start the restoration process right away. In any emergency property damage situation, don’t hesitate to take call them right away.