leaving house empty for 3 months
Make sure you find your main water shut-off valve, and that it works. Just make sure to pause those newspaper drops while you’re away, or they may give your absence away. Discussion. Lock your back door. While this is certainly true, you also should take pictures of your home and possessions prior to leaving. Well, hearing a radio on or hearing and seeing the light from a television is another way to signal that your home is occupied. Before you leave it’s important to verify that the phone numbers the temperature monitors you have programmed are accurate and working. Feel the valves underneath faucets to make sure they aren't moist. You want to do what is best for the house but hate the idea of paying for unnecessary service. Heating system/Electrical The heating system should be cleaned and inspected by a contractor to help ensure it is working properly, especially through the winter months, to […] How to Prep Your Car for Long-Term Storage. An empty house is a target for crime and criminals have been known to store stolen goods in empty houses, commercially grow cannabis in abandoned homes or sell drugs from the house. We were lucky. There are different opinions on the best practices with window blinds. In that way, water was available outside, but the house water was off. A good electrical storm can knock out everything from computers to televisions to small appliances. If you’re on well water, turn off the pump when you leave for a long trip. I can only imagine the damage that would have occurred had the water leak gone unabated for months. Another point that’s made is the importance of not having visible valuables in plain sight from first floor windows. Additionally, remove garage door openers and valuables from cars stored in your garage. We are not going to be in our FL house for about 3- 4 months in the summer. Editor’s Note: Thank you, Steve, for this very informative article. Never Post Travel Plans or Events on Social Media. 12. I also turn off the water heater. Take care of your yard. If the above list feels a bit overwhelming, it shouldn’t. There are 635,000 empty homes in the UK and over 278,000 of those have been empty for more than six months, according to latest government statistics (2019). If necessary, you might purchase an endorsement to your policy to provide coverage for your home while it's vacant. Click here to read the suggestions from the readers about closing up your house for an extended trip. If they are melted, stuff has thawed and must be thrown away. Some folks also recommend putting a little baking soda in sink drains and toilets to further avoid the stagnant water stink. You may also consider photographing your passport, medication bottles, and other important documents. The tank won't empty completely, so sponge out what's left in the bottom and transfer it to the bowl. To prepare your home for the elements, it’s a good idea to have your roof inspected, gutters cleaned, and trees trimmed back prior to heading out. 7. -- Car: If you park your car in the driveway normally and are leaving it while on an extended trip, arrange for a friend or relative to drive it so that it looks like it is being used (and so cobwebs don't develop, a sure signal that no one is home). Window Blinds, Visible Valuables, and Safe Deposit Boxes. These items may not apply to your house, or there may be more specific needs that you have to consider. Perhaps the most important aspect of this preparation is making sure your home appears occupied. 20. On the topic of garbage, you may need to arrange to have your household garbage taken to the street, or have the cans pulled back to the house. You’ll be paying for that hidden draw while you’re away. For more information about mail forwarding in Canada visit CanadaPost.ca. The house took about 2 hours to get back up to 65 when we came back, but it was comfortable enough to sit and eat dinner within 30 minutes. Add contact names and numbers for any professional services that you annually use. The ideal way to do this is to leave your car parked in a garage, out of the elements, and have a neighbor start and drive the car every week or two. If your electrical items are plugged into surge protectors, there’s no sense in leaving them plugged in and risking the damage. Use a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda in one quart of water, in order to neutralize food soils and prevent odors. One way to do this is to run the water heater until it is empty and let it refill again. No matter how long you'll be gone, whether a few days or several months, here are steps you can take to make your house safer and lower your utility bills. My strongest recommendation is to use this article to create a check list for your situation. 5. My partner doesn't have a copy of the Mortgage Deeds (The Nottingham BS) so we can't check - any help will be gratefully received. Even if you have your newspapers stopped, newspapers, circulars, and phone books may be dropped at your house. clean the house thoroughly prior to leaving. If such an endorsement is not available, consider purchasing a separate, “vacant home” insurance policy. Short-term: Throw out perishables such as milk that will expire while you're gone. Review your policy and talk with your insurance agent. To prevent this from happening, empty your refrigerator of all perishables, clean the inside, and leave it unplugged and defrosted with the doors open. Some people leave for three months, and some leave for seven months. As you can see, you are relying on your trusted neighbor(s) or home-watching friends quite a bit to help keep your home safe and intervening in any disasters. If you will be away from your home during the winter, you may want to purchase and install temperature monitors that will tell you if your house approaches freezing. If left unchecked, these green Benedict Arnolds will grow to reveal our absence, and invite the less scrupulous to have a look. Empty, wipe down and unplug the refrigerator. On many occasions we have shortened or extended mail forwarding based on changing road plans. Short-term: Turn off all lights except the ones you want as security measures. The problem: Appliances in an empty home can also take a hit. Besides, many appliances have an electrical draw when plugged-in and turned off. If you have a spa, turn off the heat. Long-term: Again, turn up the thermostat to about 85 degrees. Even better, put any jewelry, coin collections, and other highly valuable small items in a bank safe deposit box. We have an outside faucet that comes off our water line just after the main enters the house and before it goes on to the remainder of the building. Another option is to have a family member or neighbor collect your mail and forward it to you. No matter how long you'll be gone, whether a few days or several months, here are steps you can take to make your house safer and lower your utility bills. So much of this process is second nature to me as I have an antique pickup truck that gets put away every winter. There are certain things you must do in order to property protect you and your family, and minimize risk while you are away. The answer may not be as clear-cut as you think. Unplug and reset the thermostat: Temporarily adjust the thermostat so the air-conditioner or heater won't waste energy by running in an empty house. If the power went out, did your alarm turn back on? Avoid Stinky Garbage Disposal Syndrome (SGDS). All kinds of weather could happen in your absence. Turn off ceiling fans, indoor and out. Outdoor floodlights with built in motion sensors are available at Home Depot, Lowes, and Amazon (among others) and do an excellent job at detecting and deterring would-be thieves. Even the most experienced truck camper owners worry about their homes while they’re away. Then open the faucets to drain every plumbing you can. Not all cable television and internet service providers in all areas will allow you to do this, but some will. Unless you have a house sitter coming to water them, you would come back to a house full of dead plants! your refrigerator running during the 2–3 months you are gone. Some of the items in these checklists might not apply to your house, and there may be other items that you’ll need on your checklist that other people don’t have to consider. When in doubt, replace the batteries, and test the detectors. Also, have a neighbor, friend or pool service check the pool periodically to make sure the pump is operating properly. Never fear my fellow truck camping friends. Instead you turn it up to about 82 and just let it run. Details: An air-conditioner accounts for about half of your annual electrical bill, says Tom Hines, energy-efficiency expert at Arizona Public Services. -- Locks: Make sure all your windows are shut and doors are locked before you leave. Other items, like not hiding house keys, are just tips that you can immediately incorporate into your travel habits. One exception to the main water shut-off rule is if your heating system works off hot water or steam radiators, and you are leaving the heat on while you are away. Turn off your gas at the meter. closing up your house for an extended trip. 11. Many home owners have experienced a plumbing leak at one time or another. Thanks. I use a battery trickle charger from Battery Tender. To avoid this situation, run a half-cup of vinegar and water in your garbage disposal. keeping your blinds as they are is the best balance. Use that list every time you leave or return from a trip to remind you what needs to be done, and then undone. -- Phone: Don't leave a message that you are out of town. A trusted neighbor can check and answer these questions instantly. There are many stories of folks leaving a house and forgetting this critical step only to return to broken pipes inside their walls. It’s common sense that you don’t run around telling everyone that you’ll be away and your house will be unoccupied, but that’s exactly what you do by posting your trip plans and adventure to social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. 9. Use this information as a baseline for your personal checklist. Figuring out how to balance the budget for a home that remains empty can be tricky. But 7 … Here’s a good article from the Chicago Tribune, “Alarms Should Sound On Deal”. The problem: Appliances in an empty home can also take a hit. Don't leave the gutters clogged. The last thing … Long-term: Do the same. • Unplug and clean the refrigerator interior. If you’re planning to go on a long-term trip, you need to prepare your home to be unoccupied for weeks or even months at a time. Short-term: Check your pool-pump settings before you leave to make sure they are where you want them to be. Still trying to sell your home? Let your neighbors know how long you will be away and give them additional contacts should you travel beyond cell service. Details: A continually dark house, both inside and out, can be a signal to a burglar that no one is home. Unfortunately, leaving your blinds closed for weeks and months also says, “We’re not home” and protects the aforementioned unsavory individuals from being seen once they’re in your home. Connected to a security system, a water flow sensor will alert you should the water begin to flow through the system. Coming home to the rotten smell of a dirty garbage disposal that has sat for weeks or months on end is not exactly pleasant. Long-term: Do the same. Dry thoroughly. Before our last trip, I installed a shut-off in the section between the line to the outside faucet and the continuing supply to the house. To create the illusion that you have a huge, hairy, and hungry guard hound inside your home, put a big dog bowl and chain (preferably beat up and warn) outside your home. They're going to Florida for the rest of the winter and their toilet will not be used for 3 months. If such an endorsement is not available, consider purchasing a separate, “vacant home” insurance policy. The refrigerator and freezer Sometimes we forget to look up before we leave the house! This is often called “vacation mode” and can be set with a dial under a metal panel on the front of your hot water heater. The reasons are obvious. Then flush your toilets and turn off the water to each toilet at the toilet base. Even toasters and DVD/Blu-ray players can be damaged in a lighting storm. – that’s connected to the internet via coax should also be disconnected. Clearly, developing and maintaining good relationships with your neighbors is key to preparing for an extended trip. This not only kept the turncoats cut, but it also brought a trusted person to my property on a regular basis. Don't keep anything that is likely to go bad during the … If you have friends and family who are willing to help you with this, you’re in luck. If your hot water heater is like most, all you’ll need is a Philips screwdriver. Should your temperature monitors register temperature approaching freezing, your neighbors – who have a key – can enter your home, verify the situation, and take corrective action before your pipes freeze and burst. People usually leave their primary residence unoccupied for various legitimate reasons, some of which may well not be their choice. Be aware that there are concerns that web cameras of any kind could get hacked allowing not just you to see your house and home, but anyone on the planet. Drain any remaining water from the faucets, long shower head extensions and such. Lock your front door. All Rights Reserved. The water heater will run occasionally but not nearly as often as it does normally. This one seems a bit counterintuitive — right before you leave, you clear … 15. Clean out your fridge and pantry of … It's the same basic example. This is especially true if your storm shutters are metal or otherwise opaque. Most newer water heaters are equipped with such a setting.  X Research source If you live in an area where freezing pipes can be a problem, drain the toilets, the … This will help prevent sewer gas from entering the house while you are gone and can keep parts of plumbing fixtures from drying out or cracking. Before leaving your seasonal home, perishable items should be eaten, given away, or discarded. First, if you are leaving a house for a couple months in the winter you should turn off the water. These unfortunate events seem to happen without warning and can quickly become a destructive and expensive situation. There is nothing that says, “no one at home” like an accumulation of newspapers at the end of your driveway. If you have a humidistat, it should be set to 35 percent. Don’t Hide House Keys. 3. Depending on how long you will be away, turning off the main water supply line where it comes into the house is highly recommended. Having bright floodlights turn on is an excellent theft deterrent. 6. Short-term: Throw away opened bags and boxes of food (or give to friends). As a final measure against a water leak, you can install a water flow sensor on your main water supply pipe. Lock all sliding doors with security locks. The best part of the above recommendations is the peace of mind they’ll give you if you’re away from home. Clean enamel exteriors with sudsy water, rinse, and dry. To prevent sewer fumes from entering your home, you can wrap your toilet bowl in saran wrap. If your smoke detector batteries are almost dead, they may begin beeping in your absence. Most of us have a home surrounded by green traitors; grass, shrubs, and trees. Some people leave for 3 months and some leave for 7 months. This is one nightmare you can avoid. After turning off your water, turn on your kitchen and bathroom faucets until they run dry. -- Mail: Contact the U.S. All of them do essentially the same thing, so purchase the light timers you feel most comfortable programming. Doing so will still protect your plants, furniture and other belongings without running up your energy bill. These temperature monitors can be accessed via cell phone while traveling. Just be sure to put a black X on the saran wrap to prevent an accident. Details: If you have a pool, continue to run the pump so the pool doesn't develop algae and turn green. Even better, you can adjust the amount of time your mail is forwarded online. To defeat these scanners, disconnect the receiver and use a manual garage door lock. Ask a friend or neighbor you trust to water your plants. When it comes to a vacant house in the summertime, what temperature should you leave your house at? Short-term: Turn off water at the main shut-off valve, unless some household items require it to remain on. Water leaks while folks are away are one of the most common and costly damage claims for insurance companies. You have two choices. Leaving your home for 2 or 3 months is one thing.. Long-term: Set on vacation mode. In the 1990 classic Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin’s character famously used a movie to scare away ‘The Wet Bandits’.
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