Tips for Vacationers: Don’t Forget to Prepare Your Home

summer-vacationEvery homeowner’s worst nightmare probably goes a little something like this: Going on vacation someplace beautiful and relaxing.

Completely disconnecting and coming home refreshed, only to open your front door to find two inches of water on the floor and a rotten smell coming from the kitchen.

We take vacations to relax and get away from our day-to-day lives for a brief moment. But leading up to a vacation and preparing your family and home is still work and should still be taken seriously.

Between packing for your kids and yourself, organizing a pet-sitter and making sure your utilities and bills are handled while you’re away, don’t forget to take some time for home maintenance and prepare your house for your vacation.

Don’t forget these four often-overlooked tasks:

1. Turn off the Main Water Valve

When you’re gone, there is no need for the water in your home to be turned on. Keeping it on is a risky move as it could potentially lead to a burst pipe or water leak that remains unchecked for days or weeks on end. Turning off the main water valve in your home takes a few minutes but could literally save you thousands of dollars in the end.

2. Clean the Garbage Disposal

One of the more obvious tasks before going on vacation is emptying your garbage, but did you know that your garbage disposal is just as capable of creating a rotten mess that smells to high heaven? Food and other particles become stuck to the blades or lodged in the system.

Using your disposal every day typically gets rid of these things, but leaving the disposal idle for a few weeks will create a bit of a mess and a definite smell in your kitchen.

To clean the unit, turn it on and pour warm water with a little bit of white vinegar in the unit. It will quickly clean the blades and remove any food that has become lodged in the system, leaving you with a fresh and clean garbage disposal upon your return.

3. Program Your Water Heater

adjust-the-temperatureAn empty house doesn’t need hot water. Save money and prevent mishaps by programming your water heater to “vacation mode.” Most modern water heaters have this setting; sometimes it’s also displayed as a “VAC” setting.

Essentially, it runs the water heater at its lowest setting while you are gone, conserving energy and keeping your system safe.

On the day before your scheduled return, the water heater will turn back on to its regular settings so you will have hot water right away. If your water heater is an older unit, it may not have this convenient setting. In this case, you should either manually turn the thermostat to the lowest setting or turn the entire water heater off while you are gone. Just remember to turn it back on when you get home.

4. Unplug Appliances

If a flooded home is a vacationer’s worst nightmare, a gas leak or electrical malfunction is a close second. By unplugging appliances, you are taking extra precautions and giving yourself extra peace of mind while you’re away.

Make sure to unplug some electrical appliances such as microwaves, computers, and toasters. Also, consider unplugging larger appliances such as your stove, oven or fridge. However, if you unplug the fridge, make sure it’s completely empty, with no food inside.

By making a thorough home maintenance checklist, you can ensure you are fully prepared and will be coming home to a clean and disaster-free home.

For more information on home maintenance preparations in Boonton, NJ, call 973-882-2803 today and speak with the experts at K. Hoeler Plumbing and Heating.