Jul 02, 2018
It’s summertime, and for many of us, that means fun, carefree vacations with family and friends. You spend your days lounging in the sun or reconnecting with relatives. And when you get back, you expect your home to be as perfect as you left it.
The reality is this: if the proper precautions aren’t taken to vacation-proof your home before you leave, there can be serious issues awaiting your return.
The good news? There are a few easy things you can do to give yourself peace of mind while you’re away.
Here's how you can vacation-proof your home and enjoy the feeling of true relaxation this summer:
1. Set your air conditioning with a programmable thermostat
Air conditioning requires a lot of energy, which means increased utility bills in the summer. Don’t waste money cooling empty rooms while you’re away on vacation. Instead, use a programmable thermostat to control when the air conditioning kicks on and off.
allow you to schedule when your air conditioning turns on and off automatically in order to save energy. Many programmable thermostats even have a vacation mode that lets you set the times and dates of your departure and return so the house can cool back down before you walk through the door.
If you have pets you’re not taking with you, or plants you’re hoping will still be alive by the time you return, you can set your air conditioning to an energy saving mode so that the house stays cool without cranking your AC unit.
2. Pest-proof your yard
There are a surprising number of places mosquitoes can hide out. No one wants to come home after a relaxing vacation to find their yard is infested with mosquitoes.
Anything that can collect standing water is a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. Make sure you remove buckets, wheelbarrows, unused flower pots or any other container that can collect water in the event it rains while you’re away.
It’s also a good idea to cover up bird baths and pools, and clear blockages from gutters to prevent pests from building a home in your yard.
3. Keep a clean house
It feels great coming home to a clean house after a long trip. Keeping a clean home also ensures you won’t find any uninvited guests when you return.
The best way to keep pests from invading your home is to eliminate any potential food sources. Vacuuming, dusting and wiping down surfaces gets rid of any crumbs that may attract vermin.
Be sure to throw away any unused newspapers, magazines and cardboard boxes, as cockroaches are drawn to these materials.
Another tip: Remove fruit from fruit bowls or countertops, and make sure food in your pantry (including pet food) is stored in airtight containers.
Rodents and insects use their sense of smell to seek out food sources, so properly storing food in well-sealed containers prevents pests from finding your stash.
4. Make sure all trash is collected
Not only should you take out any trash you have indoors, but make sure that trash collectors take away any garbage from outdoor trash cans, as well.
Outdoor trash cans overflowing with garbage draw pests like raccoons and mice closer to your house, which gives them an opportunity to find access into your home.
If you do come back to find that unwanted visitors have set up shop in your home, call our Northern Virginia pest control specialists
immediately — they can assess the severity of the infestation and determine an elimination plan.
5. Check your sump pump
If there’s heavy rainfall in your hometown while you’re away on vacation, having a sump pump can be a lifesaver. Sump pumps
remove water from basements and crawl spaces in the event of flooding. If the sump pump is broken or malfunctions while you’re gone, flooding can cause serious damage to your home.
To be safe, make sure you test your sump pump before leaving for vacation. There are two ways to check that your sump pump is working properly:
- Unplug the sump pump, then plug it in again — the pump should turn back on immediately. If there’s a delay in turn-on time, or your pump doesn’t turn back on at all, contact one of our five-star technicians to schedule a repair.
- Run water through the sump pump. Add enough water to the pump to raise the float and see if the pump kicks on. Watch the pump carefully to make sure water is actually being pumped out of the hole.
6. Wash the dishes and do your laundry
Not only will you appreciate clean laundry and dishes when you get back from vacation, but running these appliances before you leave prevents accidents from happening while gone.
If you turn on the dishwasher mere seconds before walking out the door, you run the risk of a leak or clog creating a big mess while you're gone or even your sink filling up with water
when you run your dishwasher - and no one wants to deal with that after a relaxing drip out of town.
The same goes for laundry. Make sure you finish running the dryer before hopping in a cab to the airport. In some instances, dryer malfunctions can results in house fires.
7. Schedule lawn care services
Taking care of your lawn before you leave or having a landscaping service stop by while you’re gone can also help with mosquito prevention. Mosquitoes love hiding in tall grass, overgrown shrubs, and damp wood piles, so it’s important to keep your yard well-maintained at all times, even when you’re not home.
8. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are two devices you definitely want to ensure are working properly, even when you’re out of town.
Although most residential smoke detectors aren’t connected to the fire department, it’s important that these devices are working regardless of whether or not you’re home. Smoke detectors that are linked to home security systems will alert the security company in the event of a fire.
Newer models of smoke detectors can even send you a text when the alarm sounds so you can contact the fire department and send help to your home as quickly as possible.
Equally as important are carbon monoxide detectors. Even if your house is unoccupied, having a functioning carbon monoxide detector is crucial.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that causes hundreds
of deaths per year. Keep your family safe by checking your carbon monoxide detectors before you leave for your trip.
Both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have “test” functions that allow homeowners to make sure these devices are functioning properly. When conducting a test, make sure alarms in all rooms are working. If any of the alarms don’t sound, replace the batteries in that device and test the system again.
Enjoy your vacation worry-free.
Taking the extra steps to vacation-proof your home allows you and your family to make the most of your quality time together — and CroppMetcalfe is here to help.