Vacation is a time of shutting everything off – your phone, your computer, and even your brain. So the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether or not you locked the garage door. Here are some tips from Chatelaine‘s home editor, Andrea Ford to guarantee your place stays safe, accident-free and ready to welcome you back.
Turn off all the lights and set certain switches to a timer so it looks like people are home
Turn the ringer volume on your phone down so someone outside can’t hear that it’s going unanswered
Stow away all valuable items from view of a window
Take care of your plants. Covering your plants with plastic bags acts as a make-shift greenhouse and helps keep moisture in
In colder months: Set thermostat to a safe-for-pipes, but energy-responsible level. A new wi-fi thermostat by Eco-Bee allows you to adjust your thermostat remotely from a computer in case of freak weather fluctuations
In warmer months: Set air conditioning units to a higher thermostat temperature so they won’t cool your home unnecessarily
Empty garbage bins and recycling/green bins. If you won’t be home to deal with garbage collection, green bin waste can also be double-bagged and frozen in the freezer
Make sure dishes and laundry are clean before leaving – especially damp towels
Lock all doors and windows, especially the one between your home and the garage. For extra security, place a bar in the frame of patio doors
Lock the garage door, and as an added precaution stick a piece of wood into the tracks
Unplug any fixtures and appliances that will not be used and are not essential: computers, chargers, TVs, etc.
Be kind to your neighbour
Leave your neighbour with a copy of your house key and let them know what dates you will be gone specifically
Either cancel your mail service or have a neighbour pick up your mail for you
If you can’t leave your car at home, ask your neighbour to park in your driveway from time to time to give the illusion that someone is home
For fall travelling, remove hoses from outdoor spigots and leave taps open to drain properly before the frost. Then close the taps when water has left all piping
For gardens, a neighbour would be the best source to adjust to weather conditions rather than sprinklers on a timer. Unsupervised watering should be avoided where possible
Protect your pipes
Turn off the main water supply at main valves in the winter. In the warmer months leave water on to trickle through taps
Protect vulnerable pipes that do not receive heat, such as in garages or crawl spaces, with insulated pipe tubing or tape
Keep cabinets, such as kitchen cabinets hiding pipes, open to allow as much air, and heat circulation as possible
Worried about the environmental impact of your home while you’re away? Check out Gillian Deacon’s article on eco-proofing your home before going on vacation.