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10 Tips for the Home Before Going on Vacation

Planning extended summer vacations can often be stressful because of all the preparations and limited time to get it all done. For homeowners this can be even more nerve wracking because they have the added responsibility of making sure the home is left secure so there’s little need to worry while being away.

Doing so isn’t easy, but in the spirit of organizing the process, consider the following points, so when the suitcases are zipped up and by the door you won’t be looking back until it’s time to return.

Windows and doors: Don’t underestimate the power of forgetfulness. Though shutting all the windows and doors seems to be obvious, put it on your checklist of things to do. It may also be a good idea to pull down shades or close curtains on ground floors so it’s not obvious whether anyone is home

AC: Ask any electrician in the Scottsdale area and they will tell you that AC is one of the biggest power drainers and with so many people using it, especially in the warmer months, trying to meet all that demand causes a lot of pollution. For this reason and the fact that it will unnecessarily run up the electric bill there are few if any justifications for leaving the air-conditioning going when heading on vacation.

Lights: While cutting electricity usage is important, it’s always a good idea to leave a light or two on around the home while away. In most cases incandescent bulbs will burn out in a few days so pick up a few compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) which should stay on for weeks on end. An added bonus is these will also save up to 80 percent on the monthly bill.

Fridge: The refrigerator is one of those mechanisms in a home which runs 24 hours a day 52 weeks out of the year. Nevertheless, food can still spoil over time when refrigerated so clean out all perishables, giving away fruits and vegetables. That way, there will be less of a mess upon returning. Alternatively, you may want to simply clean it and the freezer out and turn it off for the duration of your trip.
 
Plants: Depending on the types of plants, they can either be left outside and watered by a neighbor or brought to someone’s home to be taken care of while you’re away.

Lawn: Certain communities like to pay lot of attention to aesthetics, which means keeping the yard in good shape is a responsibility of every homeowner. If this is the case in your neighborhood, make sure to have a landscaper scheduled to come by and clean things up. It will also give the appearance of the home still being occupied, which is a plus in terms of security.

Mail: Since an overstuffed mailbox is a sign no one’s home ask the post office to hold all your mail or assign a friend or family member to come by every few days to collect it.

Bills: Even though online payments make paying bills easier than ever, don’t leave any outstanding debts thinking you’ll log-in from the road and make a bank transfer. Do it before you leave and another worry will be out of the way.

Pets: Chances are you aren’t taking pets on your trip, but make the proper arrangements for their well-being far in advance. It can be difficult for some animals to be away from their owners for long periods so provide them with good care where any changes in behavior and health will be noticed quickly.

House sitter: Finally, life is sometimes a lot easier while being away when you know someone trustworthy is staying at home watching out for possible problems like a water pipe suddenly bursting. If you decide to go this route make sure you are absolutely comfortable with the person and know they won’t take the job lightly. That they have full use of your home can be payment enough but it’s best to give them further incentives so they don’t lose sight of the responsibility.

About the author:
Jakob Barry is a green living journalist for Networx.com. Networx.com helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to garage door contractors, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.