Summer is officially here! When the heat waves roll in, many of you will head out. Whether you’re taking a cruise, relaxing on a beach or checking out the city life, one fact remains true – your home doesn’t get to go with you. In addition to bringing your home a fun souvenir (lawn ornament? fridge magnet?), there’s actually a lot that you can do to make your time apart easier. These tips can also make your home safer, comfier and more efficient. Here’s our helpful pre-vacay to-do list:
Turn Up the Thermostat
Your air conditioner accounts for a healthy chunk of your annual energy bill. Don’t waste that cool, comfy air on an empty house. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, turn your thermostat up to 85º before you leave for vacation. Just make sure you don’t turn it off altogether. This way, your A/C unit will still keep your humidity levels in check. (Psst… also, if you don’t have a programmable thermostat, get one! It can really help you increase efficiency and lower energy bills.)
Take Care of Your Water
Since it’s summer and you don’t need to worry about your pipes freezing, it’s a good idea to turn your water off at the main valve. This way you won’t have to worry about a leaky pipe – or something major like a water hose rupture – jacking up your water bill and leaving you with a mess to clean up when you return. You can also set your water heater to vacation mode to save a few bucks on your heating bill.
If you have a pool, you should check to make sure your pump is running. Otherwise, you might come home to some yucky algae.
Unplug Small Appliances
Did you know that idle appliances, if left plugged in, still use power? In the electrical industry, this is known as “phantom power,” and it can account for as much as 10% of your home’s energy use. Before you leave for vacation, unplug all TVs, computers, lamps, kitchen appliances and anything else that could drain your power just by being plugged in.
Prep Your Kitchen and Bathroom
Vacation is the perfect opportunity to defrost your refrigerator. If you can mange to eat your way to an empty fridge before you leave, then go for it. Unplug your fridge, place an open can of baking soda inside and leave the doors open. If you don’t plan to defrost, you should still throw away perishables and turn your refrigerator to a moderate temperature. Give your garbage disposal some love, too, so that you don’t come back to a stinky sink. Make vinegar ice cubes and run them through the disposal, taking care to rinse thoroughly.
In the bathroom, all you really need to do is pour chlorine down the toilet to prevent bacteria build-up while it goes un-flushed for days at a time.
Amp Up Your Safety
When you’re not home, you want to deter any unwanted visitors from targeting your residence. Pick a few lights and put them on a timer so they come on at night. This is also a good time to install motion-activated outdoor lighting. To be extra safe, you can ask a neighbor to park in your driveway every couple of days.
Before you leave, make sure that all windows are locked, smoke detector batteries are working and you have notified your security system provider that you will be out of town.
Don’t Forget Your Common Sense
The tips we’ve shared here are related to your home’s heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems. Make sure you remember details like ensuring your pets, houseplants and yard are taken care of. Ask the post office to hold your mail, and give a family member or friend a spare key just in case.
Oh, and one more thing… have fun! Contact Blind & Sons if you have any additional questions about prepping your home for your summer vacation.