I'm often asked - what should you do with your house while away on vacation?
Even more - what should you do with your house while away for any length of time - a weekend, or even a few days?
Have you considered that? You should! It's that time of year again.
Here are a couple of suggestions.
~~ DO NOT post on line ANYWHERE that you will be away, when you are leaving, or when you will get back! Who is going to see that post? Who would you NOT want to see it? Mischief is looking for such posts. Mischief happens.
~~ DO shut your water off! Know where your main water shut off is and turn it off. Drain the plumbing lines in the house by opening a faucet or two on the upper level and the lowest in the house. That releases any water pressure. Your plumbing can rest.
~~ DO turn your water heater temperature gauge to "Vacation" or at least down to a lower temperature. If it is electric, turn off the circuit breaker. Why heat water while you are away? If you have gas hot water, do not turn it off unless you know how to relight the pilot.
~~ DO NOT turn off your air conditioning. If you know it will be very warm it is not recommended that your turn off the air conditioner. The humidity in the house can heat up dramatically and contribute to the amplification of mold, furniture wood rot, bubbling paint, peeling wall paper, the warping of wooden floors, and damage to computers. Instead, turn it to 80 or 82F to control humidity while you are gone.
~~DO unplug the garage door opener. Sophisticated mischief has the ability to electronically pick the code and open the door. So disable it!
~~ DO hide your computers. Should it find its way into your house, mischief is very interested in computers. Particularly hard drives. A clever computer whiz can get into your system (they have password software) and your personal information. Mischief likes your personal information.
I actually put our computers into my gun safe. It is the size of a doorway, so there is lots of room. Not only are the computers safe there, but there is a humidity-control wand inside to keep everything happy and comfortable.
~~ DO tell a trusted neighbor that can pick up your mail and any packages delivered to your front door, and can pay attention to your house. Even better, this trusted neighbor should have a key. If you need for anyone to get into the house, your neighbor can be the way.
~~ DO keep a car parked in the driveway.
~~ DO tell your security company you will be away. They will be monitoring the house anyway, but it isn't a bad idea to let them know the house is empty. That way, if there is a signal, they won't waste time trying to get a hold of you and will simply call fire or police depending on what alarm happens in the house.
~~ DO tell your credit card company where you will be and for how long. That way the computer will not kick out any purchases you are trying to make. They will also know if any mischief is using your information in an untoward way elsewhere.
If you can think of anything else do it! Then go away, have a good time, get sand into places it should not be, and eat other people's food they might leave on the blanket when they go in the water.
And remember, waterproof sun screen doesn't work. It isn't waterproof! You will fry.
You don't go to the beach you say? Remember the tips anyway! And go and do that voodoo you do so well.
My recommendation: eliminate a lot of the worry of what happens to the house when you go away. Keep your house, and yourself, protected. Simple things go a long way.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560