As specialists in all things home related, AmeriSpec has prepared for you our ultimate house checklist before vacation. Think of it as your go-to guide to locking up and leaving home now that holiday season is in full swing. Jetting abroad or visiting the cottage is a great way for Canadian families, couples, and singles to spend the summer months. After the easing of travel restrictions following the pandemic, it feels extra sweet having the freedom and liberty to explore the world again.
However, locking up your home and leaving it unoccupied for a significant amount of time leaves many homeowners feeling anxious, paranoid, and overwhelmed. It’s only natural to feel this way too. Our homes are where prized possessions are kept and where special memories are made. To help you avoid any unnecessary stress the minute you lock up and leave home, these eight tips will ensure you hit the highway or arrive at the airport 100% worry-free!
8 essentials for your house checklist before vacation
- Unplugging electronics
- Informing your neighbours and having them check on your place
- Turning off the water supply
- Emptying the fridge and taking out trash
- Adjusting the thermostat
- Storing valuables in a safe deposit box
- Leaving a car in the driveway
- Closing blinds and curtains and locking all windows and doors
One of the first things on a homeowner’s to do list before vacation is unplugging electronics. We often think of this first through fear of a house fire ensuing while we’re away. These fears have some justification too. Everyday household appliances like electric kettles and toasters are especially prone to causing fires.
Beyond reducing the threat of fire, unplugging electronics helps you save money on your next energy bill too. Nowadays, a lot of our electronics like TVs and games consoles have automatic features enabled. Features whereby updates are applied in low activity periods like when we’re sleeping. Effectively burning energy in the background, by simply unplugging electronics at the main source, you’ll reduce the threat of fire and wasted energy too.
Informing your neighbours and having them check on your place
If you have a good relationship with your neighbours, there’s no harm in informing them what dates you will be away on vacation. By doing this, neighbours can keep an eye on your property, collect things like your mail and take out your trash too.
Depending on how strong your relationship is, you may even leave neighbours a spare key, granting them access to mow your lawn, water your plants, and switch off any electronics you forgot, while taking care of anything else you deem important.
Turning off the water supply
To avoid the horror of a water leak disaster, we recommend turning off your water supply before heading off on vacation. By turning off the main water supply as well as your water heater, you’ll limit the risk of a flooded home.
If you’ve had no water leak issues year-round, it’s unlikely you’ll experience one while you’re away. However, disasters like these cost thousands to fix so turning off the water supply provides a little added peace of mind. You can typically locate the main water shut off valve near the home’s mechanical equipment.
Emptying the fridge and taking out trash
Emptying the fridge and taking out trash is part of our everyday routine, but it’s even more essential for your house checklist before vacation. Why? Because no jetsetter wants to return to smelly food odours that would linger in your kitchen otherwise.
Adjusting the thermostat
Excess humidity can damage the internal structures of your home. Therefore, it’s essential to adjust your thermostat accordingly. If you’re away on vacation this summer and want to maintain a balance between excess humidity and saving energy, you might want to increase the temperature from where you typically set the thermostat.
It’s your home and you may choose to shut off your air conditioning unit entirely. Be aware however that doing this means returning to a muggy and stifling indoor environment.
Storing valuables in a safe deposit box
Another consideration for your house checklist before vacation is a safe deposit box. Offering you an extra layer of protection considering your house will already be locked, a safe deposit box is perfect for sentimental or hard to replace items. Things most people keep in a safe deposit box include jewellery, spare house keys, passports (if you’re not travelling abroad), cash and important family documents like birth certificates, marriage licenses, mortgage documents, and so on.
Locking these items in a safe deposit box provides added peace of mind. In the unlikely event of a burglary, time is everything and by not having your valuables out on show, it takes thieves longer to get to the items they intend to steal. More time in your home means more time for neighbours and the police to be alerted before catching the perpetrator(s).
Leaving a car in the driveway
Just like Peter McAllister did in Home Alone, he left a car in the driveway when his family infamously vacationed in Paris. Granted, he forgot to close the garage, as well as his son Kevin, but there was some method to his madness – no, not the forgetting his son part!
By leaving a car in your driveway while you’re on vacation, you offer passersby the illusion that someone is home. Kind of like Kevin McAllister tricking Harry and Marv by keeping the lights on, blasting music, and operating mannequins by string – you know the scene. By having no car in your driveway, burglars may be able to easily detect that nobody is home.
Closing blinds and curtains and locking all windows and doors
It goes without saying that closing blinds and curtains and locking all windows and doors is one of the biggest items on your house checklist before vacation. Doing this not only reduces the threat of burglary but also reduces pest infestations and helps to keep your home cool during intense summer heat.
It may seem hypocritical to close all blinds and curtains, since we just discussed maintaining the illusion that someone is home, but weighing up the risks, closing blinds and curtains ensures no burglar has a sneak peek inside at the layout and valuables in your home.
Don’t forget about your home security system too
Beyond the tips we mentioned earlier, don’t forget that your home security system plays an important role too. From traditional alarm systems to smart video doorbells, homeowners are more empowered than ever before in protecting their property from burglary and theft.
If you plan on upgrading before your vacation, read our previous AmeriSpec blog on choosing the right home security system. With so many options available in the modern-day marketplace, our five simple tips will help you decide and ultimately provide the peace of mind you need when spending time away from your home.
Remember, AmeriSpec can assist with any home inspection matters post-vacation
Your home is your most prized possession and AmeriSpec understands that. Once you return from vacation, remember that AmeriSpec is always there for any home inspection needs you may have. First and foremost, we hope you enjoy a fantastic summer vacation full of unforgettable memories. When you’re back, find your local home inspector here. They’ll help you make the most informed home-related decisions possible.