6 Things to Check at Home before Going on Long Trips
Going on a vacation? Got a business trip coming up? Either way, there are a few things you should check before you leave for any long trips.
Otherwise, you may be welcomed home by a huge utility bill because you left the faucet dripping for your entire journey or, worse, by the ashes of your house smoldering and the culprit—the stove—dirtied like a neglected child who did a terrible and naughty deed.
You don’t want any unpleasant surprises to greet you because of anything overlooked. So before you grab your best weekend bag, you may want to double-check or even triple-check the items listed below before going on your trip.
Anytime we plan for long trips, we always check these 6 things in our home. It’s so important to have peace of mind when you are away from home. Be sure to check this list so you can have a great time on vacation and not worry once you have stepped out the door too!
1 – Check Your Utility Usage
Like mentioned, utility bills can smother you if you leave the water running and/or the lights and electronics on.
Most houses typically have main water valves and circuit breakers that serve as bottlenecks for your water and your power respectively, so use them to turn off the utilities of your entire house. That way, you won’t have to inspect every appliance you own. (You should still check your kitchen gas tank if you use that. That’s not connected to any utility valve/breaker.)
However, if you live in an apartment or residential complex with no direct or separate access to either of these, then you will have to go through your things for anything left on or open. It may be a good idea to inform the owner of the building or land about your departure so they can check anything you may have missed.
If you have a basement bathroom, check your lavatories too. Leaks shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve installed a quality basement toilet. Just be sure it isn’t pumping water, by twisting the knob controlling the toilet’s water intake. You can usually find that knob at the end of the tube running from the toilet to the wall.
2 – Pay Bills in Advance
You may want to make an advance on any outstanding payments. Alternatively, you can arrange an automated payment plan so you won’t have to worry about your bills anymore.
Through such a system, your utilities, cards, and any other monetary burdens will stay paid up to current, and you won’t incur penalties. You don’t want to default on your obligations and burden yourself with additional expenses from late payments or reconnection fees.
If you’re going that route, just be aware of the hidden risks behind automatic payment systems. In some situations, they may just open up other problems for you.
3 – Place Your Mail on Hold
This includes your magazine and newspaper subscriptions. If they still keep coming when you’re not around, they will pile up outside your house, and that’ll tell everyone, including thieves, that you’re not home.
An empty house is a valuable mark for criminals. It’s also possible that vagrants may illegally occupy your house without your knowledge, which would also be dangerous for you when you get back.
And all that just because of your mail gathering termites outside your door. You can also do what we do – have a trusted neighbor gather your mail for you when you are away.
That said, notify your local post office or the magazine and newspaper companies, and tell them to hold off on sending you anything. You may also redirect them to a secondary address, like your parents’ or your close friend’s, so your packages can still be taken care of.
4 – Hire Someone to Mow Your Lawn
Tall grass in an unkempt lawn can also indicate that there’s nobody home.
So to avoid the same risks mentioned in the previous point, you may want to ask someone to cut your grass while you’re away. Pay them if you have to. That is cheaper than indirectly inviting burglars to an open house.
You may want to employ a person you can trust, and your neighbor can be an option since they’re easily within reach should you have any concerns about your home.
5 – Check the Integrity of Your Locks
You’ve learned how you can maintain the appearance of your home is being “occupied” even though you’re away. However, what if thieves, especially the clever ones, can still see through your smoke-screen illusion? Chances are, they will try to break into and burgle your house.
We installed a great security system with video cameras as well to give us peace of mine while we are home and on long trips as well.
To avoid that situation, you may want to inspect every lock in your residence. It’s not just a matter of turning a key after closing your doors; rather, you must also actively test the integrity of your locks.
For that, you may want to get a lockpick gun so you can try to bypass your own locks. If you manage to break into a door without much resistance, then you can be certain that it’ll be twice as easier for professional criminals to do the same.
On doors with locks that are easy to bypass, replace or supplement them with better locks. This is even more vital on external doors that serve as entry points to your house.
6 – One Last Reinforcement
It may seem like you’re just following common sense with these tips. However, you’ll be surprised at the number of fires caused by unattended cooking appliances or, in other words, caused by people who left the stove on. That statistic is just based on the US alone. Now estimate how high that would be if you count the rest of the world.
Make it a habit to always check and turn off your appliances and other devices when leaving your house, even if you’re only gone for a few minutes. When you go on a long vacation, you’ll have that habit ingrained in you that you’ll preemptively go through this list without needing any reminders.
With that attitude, you will never need to worry about unforeseen consequences upon returning home from any long trips you plan. With that, your house will still be there, standing safe and welcoming you back. Bon voyage!
Be sure to read Recycling at Home Is Easy With 11 Ideas You Need To See too!
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