If you’re anything like our family the summer months, and particularly around the 4th of July, are a time to get out of town for vacation. We love getting up north (up north means pine trees and poor cell service) and spending lots of time on the lake.
You probably have a family tradition or childhood memory of your favorite summer vacation. They sure are a lot of fun and after a long winter or a season of working extra hours we can’t wait to get out of town.
In the hustle and bustle of planning and packing for your vacation how much attention does your home and day-to-day routine get? Do you make sure to take care of things that may not do well on their own while you’re away?
Often, at least in our family, our home can get the short end of the stick when we leave town. Here are a handful of things you should consider and plan for to truly give yourself peace of mind while you’re on vacation. These aren’t just “heating and cooling related” either. Let’s dig in.
Keeping Your Home Safe
House Lights: Whatever you do, don’t turn all the lights off in your home. Even if you don’t have a timer, leave a hallway or other centrally located light on. Feel free to leave a front porch light on too.
Windows: Windows should be locked and secured. Your curtains, however, should remain whatever way you normally have them while you’re home. If they’re open most of the time, leave them open while you’re away. The goal is to give off the vibe that someone is in the home.
Random Objects: Leave a few items out that are normally left out in day-to-day life. A newspaper on the coffee table, a used pot on the stove, or even a few toys on the floor are all ways to make it look like someone is home.
Social Media: If you’re sharing updates and photos while you’re on vacation people will know you’re not home. Wait until you get home to publicly show off your vacation. Some think this is paranoia but it’s not unheard of for a home to be broken into by a family friend or neighbor. *(this is why we like the pine trees and poor cell service in northern Wisconsin)*
Mail & Newspaper: You can ask the post office to put a temporary hold on your mail delivery while you’re on vacation. You also can have a neighbor you trust or family member get the mail for you.
Plants & Gardens: Have you taken a look at what the weather is going to be like? I’m sure you have, but what about the weather forecast while you’re gone? Maybe the person who’s getting your mail can tend to any plants, flowers, or gardens that need it. It’s hard enough to come home from vacation, no one wants to come home to dead or wilted plants.
House Pets: Rarely is the family dog or cat forgotten about. But what about the pet fish, lizard, or any other smaller animal? Make sure they’re being cared for while you’re gone.
Temperature Settings: While you’re away you definitely can raise the temperature of your home to lower your energy costs. Be careful, however, not to set the temperature too high. Your air conditioning is also a dehumidifier for your home. Hot and humid temperatures in the 80s could be brutal on your indoor plants and hardwood floors.
Air Circulation: If you have a variable speed furnace or a thermostat that is equipped to control control how often the fan (inside the furnace) is running it isn’t a bad idea to have it run periodically to keep air from getting stagnant in your home. It’s especially helpful in the summer when humidity levels are higher.
Routine Maintenance: When is the last time your furnace or air conditioner was properly cleaned and tuned by a professional? There probably aren’t too many times more inconvenient to have your system fail then when you’re away on vacation.
If it’s been more than 12 months since a professional inspected and cleaned either your furnace or air conditioner you should strongly consider having someone do it **before** you leave for vacation. A system that’s going to run on autopilot for the next few days shouldn’t have to worry about clogged condensate drains or a compressor that freezes up.
Change Your Air Filter: If your system doesn’t need routine maintenance you should take a look at the filter to see if it needs replacement. One inch filters should be changed every month. 4 inch (media) filters can last as long as 3-6 months.
An ecobee thermostat can monitor your system while you’re away and notify you if there are any problems.
Vacations are meant to be fun and stress free. Keeping these things in mind will help with that.
Are there any things we missed? We’d love to know so we can update this list. Send us a Facebook Message or call our office (262-728-1655).