Summer is nearly upon us and that means one thing – summer vacation! While some of us plan on a relaxing “staycation”, many people take advantage of students being out of school and plan a long family get away.
When you’re ready to head out for a few weeks, you want to be positive that your home is safe and sound for your return. Here’s how to keep your home safe while you’re on summer vacation.
Prevent Fire Damage
According to the United States Fire Administration, cooking and heating are the top two causes of house fires. Don’t let that statistic fool you however – when you’re away from home, there is still a chance that a fire could break out if you don’t take proper steps.
- Disconnect all electronics and appliances that you possibly can. Before you leave for your vacation, decide which appliances you can safely unplug like a microwave or coffee maker. If you’re going to leave your home vacant for a long period of time, you may consider turning off the gas to any possible appliances as well.
- Technology is your friend! With new smart home detectors, you can set your home to alert you at the first sign of trouble. Install smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with texts being sent directly to your phone. This will allow you to contact the proper people to handle the problem before it escalates.
- If your home looks vacant, it leaves it vulnerable to arsonists. Lights can be programmed on timers to turn off and on at specific times of the day. If you have the option, hiring a house sitter to check in on a regular basis is also a great idea.
Keeping Your Home Dry and Free of Water Damage
Water damage can happen a few ways. Whether it is from natural elements like heavy rain, or a cracked pipe that causes an interior leak, water damage is another threat to your home while you’re gone for an extended period of time. Keep your home dry by following these steps.
- Turn off the water. The less water that can make it into your home, the less chance of flooding! Turn off your water supply by shutting off the valves. Any appliances that connect to your main water supply should also be disconnected to keep from springing a leak and flooding your home.
- Before you leave for your vacation, check all hoses and water lines connecting your appliances to the water supply. You want to look for cracks, leaks, and other signs of wear and tear. If you notice any of this, bring in a plumber to address and fix the issue immediately.
- Check your sump pump. Verify that your sump pump is working properly and that it is ready to remove any excess water from your basement should the need arise.
- Complete a thorough check of your gutters and downspouts to ensure they are clear of any blocks or debris. If they experience any clogging, you run the risk of a leaky roof top.
We discussed this briefly above, but an empty house is a prime target for unwanted guests. You expect your home to stay empty while you’re away, but this also means that you leave your possessions alone and at risk. There are a few things you can do to help protect your home.
- Lock all doors, windows, and potential entrances. This may seem like an obvious tip, but most of us only lock our doors on a regular basis and forget about the other points of entry into our homes. As you verify that all windows are locked, make sure to check your garage as well! You may also want to consider moving your spare key to a different location or removing it all together while you’re gone.
- When you leave for vacation, leave quietly. The less people that see you pack up and head out, the less that know you’re gone! While we do live in a digital world, waiting to post pictures on social media until you get home is a great idea. When you post about your vacation, you’re announcing to the world that you’re not at home.
- It is important to let your home security company know the dates you’re gone. Consider having a security system installed if you don’t have already have. If that is not a possibility, a house sitter or neighbor that can stop by regularly is a great way to make sure nothing suspicious is happening in your home.
Emergency Restoration Services
Regardless of how prepared you are for vacation, there’s a slight chance that the unexpected can happen while you’re away. At McMahon Services and Construction, our emergency fire and water restoration services are here to handle any issues that arise. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and centrally located in Lake County Illinois. Keep our number with you in case of emergency, we’ll be here if you need us.