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Tuesday, 18 June 2019
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Preparing Your Home For Long Term Travel

Written by Posted On Sunday, 19 May 2019 05:00

Are you about to go on a long vacation? If your travels take you far from home for an extended period of time, it's crucial to make sure your house is well-prepared in advance for your long absence. Here are some helpful hints for making sure your home stays safe from plumbing disasters, appliance mishaps and more while you are away.

Set Your Thermostat

If you will be leaving your house unattended during the winter months, make sure your thermostat is set to 55 degrees. This will keep your house warm enough to prevent freezing and bursting water pipes, which can cause severe flooding and water damage. If your travels take you away from home during warmer weather, you should leave the AC unit on in order to prevent mold, mildew, and other conditions caused by heat and humidity. Adjust your thermostat to 85 degrees or less to regulate usage of the air conditioning. If you can, invest in a smart thermostat, which can be controlled via a handy smartphone app wherever you are. This is a great, convenient way to make sure your home is always protected from weather-related plumbing and HVAC issues while you're gone.

Turn Water Off

When you are going to be away for an extended period of time, it's a good idea to turn off your main water line. This can prevent plumbing leaks from occurring in your absence, which can result in significant water damage and costly repairs. After shutting off the main water valve, let your kitchen and bathroom faucets run dry, ensuring that no water is left in the pipes.

If you have a sprinkler system that needs to run while you are away, or if your heating system works with steam radiators or hot water, it is not a good idea to shut your water off at the main valve. However, anyone who doesn't have these special considerations should turn it off to avoid future problems upon your return. By turning off the water before you leave, you are saving yourself a potential headache when you get back!

Wrap Toilet Bowls With Plastic Wrap

No, this isn't an elaborate prank for your family and friends! By wrapping your toilet bowls, you are preventing sewer fumes from entering your home. Leaving your toilets unwrapped can result in a less-than-pleasant "welcome home" when you walk in the door. Just be sure to mark the cling wrap with a big black "X" or other warning symbol to prevent anyone from accidentally using the toilet with the wrap in place.

Empty the Fridge

Apart from the main reason of not wanting the food in your refrigerator to turn into a moldy, stinky science experiment while you're away, it's also a good idea to empty the fridge of all perishables in order to completely defrost and unplug it if you're going to be gone for a very long time. This will save energy and not force the fridge to keep running when it's not in use.

Travel is one of the most enriching things we can do in life- an ideal opportunity to meet new friends, share new experiences, and learn new things. By knowing how to properly take care of your home in your absence, you can have one less thing on your mind while you are away from home having adventures!

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