Summer is here! You’re ready for vacation time — but is your house? Before you pack up and head out, be sure to prepare your home for summer break. Those hot summer days can cause all sorts of problems around the home, especially if you’re going to be gone for a while. These handy tips will help you get your place ready for summer and keep everything in order while you’re away.
Get an HVAC Checkup
Your HVAC may seem to be working fine, but when the air conditioner has been dormant over the winter, a little maintenance goes a long way. Have a professional do an HVAC system checkup to make sure everything is working properly. Not only will a checkup ensure your air conditioner will keep things cool through the summer, having the unit go out while you’re away could cause all sorts of issues. You don’t have to keep the house as cool as when you’re home, but setting the thermostat to an “away” temperature will prevent high humidity and heat that can cause problems like mold.
Set Your Thermostat for Efficient Cooling While You’re Away
When you’re away from home for any length of time, setting your thermostat to keep your home at a steady temperature is important. Even the most basic programmable thermostat gives you plenty of options for keeping things cool without wasting energy. If you have a manual thermostat, it may well be worth the long-range cost savings to have one installed.
Before you hit the road this summer, set your thermostat at a higher temperature than usual, about 80 to 85 degrees. Remember, you’re not going to be home, so your goal is to minimize the difference between the air inside and outside for greater energy efficiency. While turning the air conditioner off would seem to give you the most savings, not having the a/c running is no good for your home and belongings. Humidity and heat are a dangerous combination that could cause damage to wood and laminates throughout your home.
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Unplug Unnecessary Electronics
Except for lights on timers, unplug any small electronic appliances in your home, like TVs, computers, stereos and any other devices not being used. Summertime means thunderstorms and lightning, so a power surge is a possibility and is especially dangerous if you are away. Power surges not only wreck appliances, but they can also cause an electrical fire that probably won’t be detected until it’s way too late. Don’t rely on surge protectors to protect your home either. Play it safe and unplug.
Turn Off the Main Water Supply
Coming home from vacation and finding a flooded basement or damaged floors is the last thing you want to face. Water can cause damage to your belongings and the structural elements of your home very quickly. Even a small drip from a leaky pipe can do an amazing amount of damage if left unattended. Prepare your home for summer break by turning off the main water supply while you’re away so that you can relax and know you’ll come home to a dry house.
If you have a sprinkler system, you can still keep your lawn and landscaping watered if you sprinkler runs on a separate water line than your main water supply. Check your system to see if this is the case and call a professional if you can’t figure it out. If you are able to run your sprinklers from a separate line, be sure to set the timer so that the system doesn’t run during the hot part of the day. A hot sun beating down on wet plants and grass can cause all sorts of damage.
Don’t Give It Away That You’re Going Away
Homes that are sitting empty because the owners are away are prime targets for thieves. Some burglars will watch homes, especially during the summer, to figure out when a family will go on vacation. Don’t give these thieves any signs that you’re heading out of town. Pack your vehicle inside a closed garage instead of in the driveway, have your mail and newspapers held or handled by a neighbor and make sure your lawn has a fresh cut.
One of the best deterrents for potential break-ins is to make your home appear as if you had never left. Set up timers on lights in different rooms and set them to come on at alternate times to give the appearance of someone being home. To anyone watching your home, these light settings will create an impression that someone is entering and exiting rooms inside your home. Vary the pattern of lights coming off and on, and those would-be burglars will move on to easier prey.
Give Your Home a Going Away Cleaning Party
If you’ve ever come home from time away and walked into a cloud of offensive odors, it’s probably because you didn’t give your home a thorough cleaning before you left. To avoid encountering foul food odors when you return home, check the food in your refrigerator. Throw out anything that will reach its expiration date while you’re away or bring the food with you in a cooler to avoid waste.
Go through your pantry and cabinets and do the same purge as the fridge and make sure you remove any opened packages of food. Bugs will be glad to hang out at your house while you’re gone and find ways to nourish themselves. Get rid of open foods and clean the kitchen thoroughly to get rid of any crumbs, residues or anything else that could attract pests.
Bugs and ants will look for food and water in other parts of your home too, so give your home a good spring cleaning. Vacuum and clean carpets, take out all the trash, wash towels and bedding. A clean house will send pests looking for better options, and you get to come home to a home that’s clean and comfortable. For an extra boost of freshness, plug in some air fresheners around the house so that you can come home to your favorite fragrances.
Consider a Remote System You Control With Your Smartphone
Remote systems that monitor everything in your home, from your sprinkler system to the thermostat and lighting, can give you the ultimate peace of mind while traveling. Look into a variety of systems to find the best one for your needs and budgets. Even the basic “smart” devices give you the ability to control a variety of things in your home from afar. Best of all, most systems will notify you if something does go wrong for even more assurance that your home is safe and sound when you’re gone.
Before you head out for vacation, follow these handy tips to prepare your home for summer break, so you can relax and know your home is ready to take the heat. If you would rather focus on getting packed up and on the road, let The Maids ® handle the house cleaning. You can come home to a sparkling clean house after your vacation without having to do the dirty work.