Also, have the friend flush toilets and run the dishwasher. If that’s not possible, disconnect the battery to prevent drainage (or use a battery trickle charger), and put the automobile on jacks to avoid tire flat spots. Details: Toilets can collect bacteria, which can cause stains. This not only kept the turncoats cut, but it also brought a trusted person to my property on a regular basis. Don't leave the gutters clogged. Light timers turn household lamps on and off every evening and go a long way to help give your home the appearance that you’re still there. Not all cable television and internet service providers in all areas will allow you to do this, but some will. Some people leave for three months, and some leave for seven months. Turn off your gas at the meter. Leave the air conditioner on, but crank the thermostat up to around 88 degrees. If your system has a filter, change the filter. Unless you have a house sitter coming to water them, you would come back to a house full of dead plants! There is nothing that says, “no one at home” like an accumulation of newspapers at the end of your driveway. -- Locks: Make sure all your windows are shut and doors are locked before you leave. Follow the instructions in this article and you’ll be truck camping cool as a cucumber. 7. If your smoke detector batteries are almost dead, they may begin beeping in your absence. Short-term: Mow your lawn and trim shortly before your trip. Whoo-wee! It makes the work cycle more normal. 12. 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. 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. 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. • Unplug and clean the refrigerator interior. Long-term: Again, turn up the thermostat to about 85 degrees. Before leaving your seasonal home, perishable items should be eaten, given away, or discarded. This keeps the house well above freezing and prevents the pipes from freezing and bursting. Toss or donate unopened boxes of food (or, if you plan to keep them, put them in plastic bags to deter pests.). Needing extensive medical treatment requiring them to spend weeks or months in hospital. 6. With a little preparation, and a dose of prevention, none of these fears should keep you from embarking on the long-term trip of a lifetime. First, clear out all of the perishables. Make sure you find your main water shut-off valve, and that it works. 12. Other considerations for any length of vacation. In either case, you will likely need to keep the main water line on. They're going to Florida for the rest of the winter and their toilet will not be used for 3 months. You also need to pay for a high-speed internet connection while you’re away, but you may be paying for that anyway. 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. 11. Most of us leave at least one car at home. The answer may not be as clear-cut as you think. If your hot water heater is like most, all you’ll need is a Philips screwdriver. If you did you would come back and have to replace large amounts of dry wall. To keep these green back-stabbers in check this past summer, I hired a local college student to mow my lawn and maintain our gardens. Check out these 9 tips to ensure you're home is safe next time you leave town. 25. Long-term: Do the above. 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. It’s also a very good idea to shut off and drain dishwasher valves, washing machine valves, sink valves, and outdoor water faucets. Provide the dates you will be gone and where you are going. Also, check expiration dates of unopened items. Turn off the electricity to your hot water heater. In Flordia, specially the humid months, you do not leave the house with no A/C. We experienced a plumbing leak when we were home and were able to correct the problem quickly. To defeat these scanners, disconnect the receiver and use a manual garage door lock. Use a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda in one quart of water, in order to neutralize food soils and prevent odors. My advice is to purchase at least one for every floor of your home (preferably more) and test them prior to leaving on your trip. 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. Especially in the summer, a refrigerator works better with a cold mass inside to help maintain the temperature. The water heater will run occasionally but not nearly as often as it does normally. She enjoys the money and we don’t look unoccupied. Hiding a house key under the mat, in a fake rock, or inside a magnetic house … 13. Whether these properties are empty because their owners are waiting to sell them, because they're second homes or because the house is in probate, the issue of insuring them can be confusing. 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. Take any live plants you have with you. Window Blinds, Visible Valuables, and Safe Deposit Boxes. Lock pet doors and any other external entry ways into your house. It’s a nearly universal phenomenon — that moment of panic in the middle of the night before leaving home for an extended period of time wondering what loose ends you’ve forgotten to tie. Walk around your house and unplug everything that’s not a lamp on a timer or otherwise related to an alarm system. Figuring out how to balance the budget for a home that remains empty can be tricky. However, always be sure to follow correct procedure and hire a professional plumber if you have any doubts. Many of the internet and security system companies now sell and install web camera systems; for a monthly fee. If you have a humidistat, it should be set to 35 percent. closing up your house for an extended trip. Never leave wet clothing in your dryer or they will likely mildew, mold, and ruin long before you get home. There are many stories of folks leaving a house and forgetting this critical step only to return to broken pipes inside their walls. Even the most experienced truck camper owners worry about their homes while they’re away. Don't keep anything that is likely to go bad during the … Stop mail service and newspaper deliveries. Canadians have a similar mail forwarding system but pay a minimum of $52.95 CAN for four months of mail forwarding within their province. The other is to keep the refrigerator running. Turn your water off at the main valve, every house has one. It's the same basic example. If there is frost in your freezer, you'll want to wait until that has melted and been cleaned up before you leave. Short-term: Throw out perishables such as milk that will expire while you're gone. The thermostat only showed 50F at that time, but the air surrounding us was toasty warm. It’s also not a good idea to change your answering machine message to anything implying your absence. Additionally, remove garage door openers and valuables from cars stored in your garage. 15. Drain spouts should be secured to take heavy rain away from your house. 1. In the 1990 classic Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin’s character famously used a movie to scare away ‘The Wet Bandits’. Mail can be held for up to 30 days, or less. Another use for light timers is to have a radio or television that turns on and off. 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. 11. Don’t Hide House Keys. Depending on the season of your absence, and your home climate, it may also be necessary to have someone help with snow removal, leaf raking and removal, and lawn and shrub watering. No worries about home burglaries while boondocking. There are different opinions on the best practices with window blinds. Then flush your toilets and turn off the water to each toilet at the toilet base. On many occasions we have shortened or extended mail forwarding based on changing road plans. Activate Motion Activated Outdoor Floodlights. Even better, put any jewelry, coin collections, and other highly valuable small items in a bank safe deposit box. If you want your mail forwarded, you request a temporary mail forwarding for $1 USD. With this article we asked our readers for their ideas. Perhaps it’s the last thing you want to do in the midst of packing, but you’ll thank yourself when you arrive back home. An empty fridge would have more start and stops then one with something in it. That way, they won't be surprised — or put a hold on your card — when they see charges from abroad. 5. Lock the door between your garage and your house. Clean out your fridge and pantry of … Just be sure to inform anyone with access to your home that you have disabled the garage door system and/or manually locked the garage. People usually leave their primary residence unoccupied for various legitimate reasons, some of which may well not be their choice. Stop the Mail and Newspaper Deliveries. Coming home to the rotten smell of a dirty garbage disposal that has sat for weeks or months on end is not exactly pleasant. When in doubt, replace the batteries, and test the detectors. Doing so will still protect your plants, furniture and other belongings without running up your energy bill. Just be sure to put a black X on the saran wrap to prevent an accident. In general, folks want to close their blinds to prevent the unsavory from peering in and seeing unprotected valuables. Long-term: Do the same. Reply Reply Author. Short-term: Pour a half cup of chlorine into the bowl (not the tank). Long-term: Set on vacation mode. Some folks also recommend putting a little baking soda in sink drains and toilets to further avoid the stagnant water stink. While they are walking through, they can make sure no door hang tags, leaflets, or packages have been left at your door. Details: Don't come home from your trip to a refrigerator filled with spoiled food. Open your faucets to release the pressure. -- Banks/credit cards: If you plan to use your credit or debit cards while you're out of town, specifically out of the country, notify your bank and credit-card company. 1. Turn off ceiling fans, indoor and out. 5. Still trying to sell your home? Did you remember to lock the sliding doors? Short-term: Turn up the thermostat to about 85 degrees. Linda Stanfield, owner of Benjamin Franklin the Punctual Plumber, recommends not turning it off while you're gone, but instead flushing it out when you return. With the invention of high-speed internet, the proliferation of high quality small cameras, and the ability to see live streaming video using the cellular connections on our smartphones, it’s now possible to see a live video feed of our house and property from almost anywhere in the world. The only other option is to move out and leave the place empty so he only pays the mortgage and minimal bills on it. The mail is often a never-ending cascade of advertising, magazines, and other solicitations – with a few important parcels in-between. Precautions for leaving a house empty over winter please? Details: An untrimmed lawn can be a sign to burglars that you are away from home. When you’re away from the house for an extended period of time – for example, if you leave on a vacation or the property is a summer home or rental property that is vacant – there are additional factors that should be considered when deciding whether to heat or cool the unoccupied house. 4. If you did you would come back and have to replace large amounts of dry wall. Review your policy and talk with your insurance agent. -- Newspaper: Put delivery on a vacation hold. -- Phone: Don't leave a message that you are out of town. If you live in a warmer climate, you may need to leave your air conditioner and humidistat on to prevent mold, mildew, and other heat and humidity related issues. Perhaps the most important aspect of this preparation is making sure your home appears occupied. In a similar way, we told our local post office that we would be out of town for an extended period. Other items, like not hiding house keys, are just tips that you can immediately incorporate into your travel habits. Dry thoroughly. This is one nightmare you can avoid. 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. Home » Important Truck Camping Tips » 30 Ways To Prep Your Home for a Long-Term Trip. All of them do essentially the same thing, so purchase the light timers you feel most comfortable programming. Another thing you don’t want to come home to is rotten clothing in the dryer. We are not going to be in our FL house for about 3- 4 months in the summer. Clean out your fridge and pantry of … Also, have a neighbor, friend or pool service check the pool periodically to make sure the pump is operating properly. Before you leave your house for a extended period -- no matter what season it is -- turn off the main water supply. If you’re on well water, turn off the pump when you leave for a long trip. To prevent this from happening, empty your refrigerator of all perishables, clean the inside, and leave it unplugged and defrosted with the doors open. That’s right, you can watch your house yourself when you’re away. -- Security company: If you have one, notify the company that you will be gone. Fill it with bottles of water so it will run more efficiently. Connected to a security system, a water flow sensor will alert you should the water begin to flow through the system. If left unchecked, these green Benedict Arnolds will grow to reveal our absence, and invite the less scrupulous to have a look. As an additional layer of security, we informed the local police that we would be away and asked them to keep an eye on our house. 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. Turn off the water to the house at the main valve. Naturally you might think taking pictures is what you do once you’re on the road and exploring new places. Short-term: Check your pool-pump settings before you leave to make sure they are where you want them to be. Needing extensive medical treatment requiring them to spend weeks or months in hospital. Consider Call-In Temperature Monitors. But 7 … You may also consider photographing your passport, medication bottles, and other important documents. The last thing … Take care of your yard. In case of a fire, flood, or other disaster, these photographs will prove what you had, and in what overall condition it was in. In concert with other home security recommendations (light timers, helpful neighbors, police notification, etc.) Is the furnace still up and running? Use a towel to chock the door open. The important exception to this would be if you’re using an internet web cam or other security system that requires an internet connection. That said, you can buy and install a web camera system in your house and property that will let you see your den from Denmark and your lawn from Louisiana. Have a friend periodically flush the toilets while you are gone. While I certainly don’t recommend leaving any doors or windows unlocked while you’re away, not everyone will feel it’s necessary to install and pay monthly fees for a security alarm system. Those with house plants should also make arrangements to have their plants watered and cared for. Include the names and contact information for your plumber, electrician, yard service, pool service or other contact should a problem happen while you are away. For mail being forwarded further distances or for even more extended periods of time, the cost is higher. Put the security lights on variable timers. These unfortunate events seem to happen without warning and can quickly become a destructive and expensive situation. Thank you helpful neighbors. For those of us who travel a month or more at a time, it is sometimes possible to put your expensive cable television services on hold. 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 […] It’s always better to come home to a clean and uncluttered house. Clearly, developing and maintaining good relationships with your neighbors is key to preparing for an extended trip. If you don’t want to turn your hot water heater off, set it to the lowest possible heat level. In that way, water was available outside, but the house water was off. Click here to read the suggestions from the readers about closing up your house for an extended trip. No more worrying about water in the basement. Founded in 2007, TCM is the RV community's number one source for news, reviews, guides, newbie advice, destination ideas, maintenance recommendations, modifications, and more. Besides, having the light timers in place is a good idea even when you’re just going out to the dinner, or the movies. 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. It’s a minor detail, but closing a fireplace flue will prevent bats, bird, squirrels, and other critters from entering your home. Inform local police the house will be empty. You’ll be paying for that hidden draw while you’re away. When it comes to a vacant house in the summertime, what temperature should you leave your house at? What won’t fit in your camper’s refrigerator can be offered to your friendly neighbor as part of maintaining the friendship. Apply a coating of appli-ance or car wax to enamel exteriors to protect scratches Figure 1. Make the house look lived in: Set automatic timers for interior lights on staggered hours, and turn on motion sensors for exterior lights. 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). Empty your refrigerator 2. Short term: Set the temperature on "vacation" mode. Details: If you have a pool, continue to run the pump so the pool doesn't develop algae and turn green. 6. Rather than paying about $150 for cable television and internet while you’re not home, you can pay $10 to put both services on hold. Second, clean the refrigerator. Take any live plants you have with you. Possible scenarios include: Spending significant periods of a given year at a holiday residence, for example an apartment in Spain. A clean refrigerator will be much nicer to come home to. Another point that’s made is the importance of not having visible valuables in plain sight from first floor windows. While you're gone, have a neighbor or friend turn on the water and run the faucets at least once a month. -- Disposer/drains: Run the disposer. These temperature monitors can be accessed via cell phone while traveling. Details: A continually dark house, both inside and out, can be a signal to a burglar that no one is home. Even toasters and DVD/Blu-ray players can be damaged in a lighting storm. If your home is on oil heat, have the tanks filled. Put Cable Television and Internet On Hold. When we leave our house in cold weather, we set the thermostat for 55 degrees. [2] X Research source If you live in an area where freezing pipes can be a problem, drain the toilets, the … Here is the final hint to know if your stuff has stayed cold while you were gone, or if you have had a power-outage that let stuff thaw, and has now re-frozen. If your electrical items are plugged into surge protectors, there’s no sense in leaving them plugged in and risking the damage. -- Small appliances, computers, televisions: Unplug these items. That’s a savings of $140 a month for something you’re not using. One is to unplug the refrigerator and leave the door open to prevent mildew, odor and mold. 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. 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. keeping your blinds as they are is the best balance. Short-term: Throw away opened bags and boxes of food (or give to friends). Long-term: Do the same. 20. Also throw in a couple of steaks and a bottle of wine for good measure. How to Prep Your Car for Long-Term Storage. It’s a nearly universal phenomenon — that moment of panic in the middle of the night before leaving home for an extended period of time wondering what loose ends you’ve forgotten to tie. It is preferable to not leave storm shutters on to help with the illusion of home occupancy. First, check your insurance coverage by calling the insurance company or talking to your insurance agent. Don't let it sit empty, however. Avoid telling the world your home is going to be empty. Editor’s Note: Thank you, Steve, for this very informative article. Unplug unnecessary appliances in preparation for … Just unplug it. This one seems a bit counterintuitive — right before you leave, you clear … No fretting about flooding fifty miles down forest service roads. Please be aware that these web camera kits are not for the technologically challenged, and likely require running wire and cables throughout your attic and crawl spaces. Postal Service to put your mail on hold. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes and other tropical storms, it’s wise to put up storm shutters. -- Leaks: Check for water leaks before you leave. Steven Merrill takes us step-by-step through the process of preparing a house to be unoccupied during extended or long-term trip. 3. -- Smoke detectors: Make sure they are in working condition. To prevent sewer fumes from entering your home, you can wrap your toilet bowl in saran wrap. We were lucky. Lock All External Doors, Windows, and the Garage. Leave all the interior doors open so the air can circulate inside the house. You want to do what is best for the house but hate the idea of paying for unnecessary service. For the rest of us, it’s stop and hold. The answer may not be as clear-cut as you think. 9. Place five-gallon buckets of water around the inside of the house. I was wondering if we need to do anything to the plumbing to prevent water empty house for 4 months - any plumbing precautions (rental, appliances) - Sarasota - Bradenton - Venice area - Florida (FL) -Manatee and Sarasota Counties - City-Data Forum Short-term: Turn off water at the main shut-off valve, unless some household items require it to remain on. Don't leave the gutters clogged. Short-term: Turn off all lights except the ones you want as security measures. Details: No one wants to come home from a relaxing vacation to a plumbing leak. Original Poster. First, if you are leaving a house for a couple months in the winter you should turn off the water. Make sure your security lights are outfitted with CFL bulbs, which save on energy and are long-lasting. Lock your back door. This is exactly what we do, and it works well. Empty, wipe down and unplug the refrigerator. Complications arise if you allow someone to stay at your house for a week or two while you are away. Unless you have a house sitter coming to water them, you would come back to a house full of dead plants!