Planning an extended family vacation is exciting, but it’s crucial to include an element of preparation when it comes to leaving your home unoccupied for a few weeks.
Utilities maintenance is probably the last thing on your mind when planning your adventures. But make sure to include it in your vacation prep so that you don’t come home to a disaster you just can’t afford to fix!
Here are some of the most important tasks to take care of before you hit the road.
8 Utilities Maintenance Tasks to Complete Before Your Vacation Begins
Aside from basic tasks such as clearing out your refrigerator, cleaning your home, and doing your last bit of laundry, there are certain maintenance tasks that need your attention.
The last thing you want is to come to a flooded basement, cracked toilets, or blown-out electronics. Complete these tasks before you set off and you can enjoy your vacation with full peace-of-mind:
1. Attend to Your Furnace/Water Heater
One of the first things you want to do is a quick once-over of your furnace or water heater before you leave for an extended period of time. The simplest maintenance mistakes can really lead to disastrous consequences when it comes to your furnace. Try to be as thorough as possible when checking that your furnace is fully operational, or setting your water heater to ”vacation” mode.
An added bonus? The vacation mode setting can save you money on your utility bills when your water heater is not being used.
2. Make Sure Your Main Water Supply is Turned Off
This is the best defense you have against home flooding when you’re away. Anything can happen — from a burst pipe, plumbing failure, to a massive storm. Don’t take the risk of leaving your main water supply turned on. A water supply leak can lead to major home damage, so if this is not something you want to face, turn off your water supply!
3. Test Out Your Sump Pump
If your home uses a sump pump system for rainwater, this is an area that needs to be checked before you leave home. If a sump pump fails you during a huge storm, this could lead to a flooded crawl space or basement.
Double-check that your sump pump is fully operational by throwing a bucket of water into the sump pit. If the pump is not activated, you should call in a plumber right away. You may also want to install a sump pump backup battery. This way the sump pump will kick in if a major storm cuts out your electricity.
4. Adjust Your Thermostat
In order to cut back on energy consumption and lower your utility bill, adjust your thermostat accordingly. If you have a programmable thermostat, set and hold the temperature at 85 degrees. You can also set it to lower the temperature the day before you get home so your house isn’t hot and stuffy.
If you have a manual thermostat, you should turn up the temperature and leave it at that while you’re away. Yes, your home may be a little warm when you get home, but it’s a good way to save on energy.
Don’t make the mistake of completely turning your air conditioner off while you’re away, either. Keep the air-conditioner running on a timer for a certain number of hours per day. This way the air in your home can circulate and won’t become stagnant or condensate.
Condensation can cause damage to wood. While heat build-up can also cause your cabinets, flooring, and doors to buckle and warp over an extended period of time.
5. Disconnect All Major Electronics
If your most expensive electronics such as your television, computer, or sound system are plugged directly into the wall, it’s best to unplug them while you’re not home. Otherwise, if they’re already plugged into a power surge protector, just flip the switch and turn them off.
Not only will this protect your electronics from blowing out during a storm power surge, but it can save you money. Even if electronics are turned off, they still draw power from the wall. Save yourself hard-earned cash with this simple task before you leave the house.
6. Activate Your Security Lights
A good layer of added protection to your home is outdoor security lighting. If you already have security lights installed, make sure they are turned on and carefully timed for when darkness approaches. If you don’t have security lights, leave on at least one or two lights inside your home to keep burglars at bay.
7. Clear Out Gutters and Check Downspouts
Another simple way to avoid flooding disaster is to do a quick check of your home’s gutter and downspout system. Grab a ladder, and clear out any build-up of debris, leaves, and other matter that could be clogging your gutters.
Make sure your downspouts are securely attached and don’t have any obvious cracks. Check the downspout drains for debris build-up and clear them out if needs be.
8. Antifreeze Your Toilets
If you’re heading off on vacation during the cold, winter months, it’s a good idea to add anti-freeze to your toilet system. First, turn off your water supply, then flush all the toilets to drain the water out of the tanks. The toilet may still fill with a little remaining water. A good solution is to add antifreeze into the toilet bowl so it does not freeze and crack the porcelain. But make sure to use marine antifreeze as its non-toxic.
Travel and Lifestyle Inspiration For Your Dream Vacation
You can see why utilities maintenance is so important before you take to the open road on a carefree vacation, right? It’s a way of setting your home into ”hibernation” mode so you arrive back to a place that’s clean, welcoming, and familiar.
If you’re looking for a little travel inspiration for your vacation planning, don’t miss out on the rest of this site! We offer hotel reviews, in-depth city guides, photo stories, top-rates spa recommendations, and more.