Before leaving your house for an extended period of time, make sure you think about doing the following:
- Shut off the main water supply to the house. It’s the lever or screw valve in the basement coming out of the floor near your water meter. If you do have a plumbing problem (bursts, leaks, freezes, etc.), this will help lessen the risk. One time, I was in the basement turning off the water when I noticed a dripping sound. It turned out that a water line supplying the fridge ice maker has sprung a leak. The basement ceiling drywall was wet, sagging, and dripping water onto the carpet. I was very lucky to have caught this problem right away!
- Turn down the heat but keep it around 60 or so. If you turn it down too much, pipes in exterior walls might freeze depending on the winds.
- Turn down your hot water tank heater. Why spend energy and money keeping 40 or more gallons of water hot and ready when you aren’t going to use it?
- Do a complete inspection of the house to make sure all your doors and windows are locked, electrical appliances and power strips are off, lights are off (except maybe a couple of timers), there are no signs of water leakage, and you haven’t forgotten any important documents or medicines.
- Have someone pick up your mail and any leaflets or newspapers left at your door or on your driveway. You can also have the post office hold your mail or redirect it.
- If you have pets or plants in the house, makes sure someone is available to care for them while you are away. You may want to leave the temperature in the house the same as well.
- Close windows shades, curtains, shutters, etc. to help insulate the house while you are away.