Keep Your Home Safe While On Vacation

In summer, Northern Virginia and Maryland homeowners look forward to a
slower pace and to well-earned vacation time. But summer also means ‘stormwatch’,
a fact that’s been underlined in recent weeks. It’s one thing
to handle storm damage when you’re stuck at home, but what happens
when you’re away?

When most of us go on vacation, we don’t think much beyond locking
the doors and arranging for someone to water the plants. But here’s
a handy checklist to keep things safe at home when you leave, even if
the storms go on all summer.

Maintenance

  • Ensure your pets and houseplants are cared for.
  • Find someone to mow and water the grass.
  • Place the mail on hold.
  • Turn down the hot water heater and adjust thermostat settings.
  • Disconnect the washing machine hoses to prevent unexpected rupture.
  • Check all faucets for any leaks.
  • Unplug any unnecessary appliances and electronics.
  • Check that outside drains are clear of debris to prevent flooding.

Security

  • Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house.
  • Set up light timers to make the house look lived-in, so as not to draw
    attention from thieves. You might also set up timers for a TV.
  • Invest in a Water-Safe to alert you if water line breaks.
  • Park vehicles in the garage and disconnect the garage door opener. It can
    be a simple entry for thieves.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Don’t announce your big trip on social media. You never know who’ll
    be reading.
  • Take out all of the garbage..
  • Check the doors and windows, the stove and the coffeemaker just before
    you walk out the door.

Safety

  • Leave a key and/or security code with a trusted friend or neighbor along
    with a copy of your itinerary and instructions on how to contact you in
    case of emergency.
  • Leave instructions on what to do in the case of emergency, like a power
    outage, or fire, if a pet gets sick, or if your home is broken into. If
    you have a back-up generator ensure that it is adequately vented and
    verify that your house sitter knows the risk of carbon monoxide exposure.
  • Leave the numbers of your favorite
    plumbing company, as well as your vet, dog walker, outdoor maintenance service,
    or anyone else your trusted friend might need to contact in your absence.
    If your friend can handle the little things that come up, there’s
    far less need for them to disturb your well-deserved vacation!
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