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(Not) Home for the Holidays

Will you be taking a vacation or visiting relatives for the Holidays this year? Traveling long distances, leaving your home unoccupied during the time you're gone? Have you thought about how to properly care for your home while you're away?

Car filled with Christmas presents

Your most important possession is always the most vulnerable when you're not there. Besides burglary, equipment malfunction, energy consumption, water leakage and weather damage are all things to take into consideration before you depart.

Here are some ideas to help protect your home while you're away:

  • Turn off main water supply valve and open the highest and lowest valves in the house. Remember water damage is one of the most common insurance claims. Also, it's okay to do this in the winter, but not advised for the summer as you would disable your yard sprinkler system. (Do not do this one if you heat your home with a hot water system).
  • Consider turning off the gas supply to your water heater, if you're comfortable with turning it back on when you come home. Otherwise just turn it down to low. Again, do not shut off the gas if your home is heated with a gas boiler.
  • Unplug all your electronics and anything else that consumes electricity that you won't be using. Probably not the freezer in the garage that has the expensive elk meat, but okay to turn off the electric water heater.
  • Turn down the thermostat setting on the furnace or hot water heat.
  • Unplug your washer and dryer and turn off the hot and cold water supply valves to the washer.
  • Turn off the gas supply to your gas fireplace. (Again, only if your comfortable relighting when you return.)
  • Consider putting several light fixtures throughout the house on timers. Put the TV or a radio on a timer. This will always give the impression someone is in the house.
  • Leave a car parked in the driveway for the same reason.
  • Do not change the message on your answering machine to indicate you're not home.
  • Leave a written note in plain sight within the house for any visitors coming by of what has been turned off. You wouldn't want your college age daughter coming home unexpectedly to do her wash when there's no water!
  • Lock up all valuables and prescription drugs before leaving.
  • Take your animals to a kennel. It's safer for them.
  • Have a trusted friend check on your home while you're gone.

Remember the goal is to keep your house safe, protected, and reduce the risk of any unwanted damage when you return!

Have additional ideas for our list? Leave a comment below.