Preparing for a vacation is always exciting, but don’t get so busy planning your itinerary that you forget about your house. While your home sits empty, a lot of things can happen. If you want to come back to a clean, comfortable environment, you need to make sure you do these things before your next vacation.

Set Your Thermostat to the Right Temperature

Don’t forget to adjust your thermostat before you leave. If you leave it running constantly, you can waste energy needlessly. However, turning the thermostat off entirely can damage your belongings. To avoid either of these issues happening, you need to set your thermostat in the right range. In the summer, try to set your thermostat to around 85 degrees. This will save energy without letting heat damage your house. During winter, set your thermostat to 55 degrees. This is warm enough to prevent frozen pipes or other problems.

You can adjust your thermostat manually, but things get a lot easier with a programmable thermostat. These can be set to automatically go into a power-saving mode whenever your phones leave the house. Another nice perk is that you can adjust your thermostat a few hours before you arrive home, so you come back to a comfortable environment.

Move Valuables to a Secure Location

Many burglaries are crimes of opportunity where a thief comes by, notices something valuable within easy reach, and breaks in to grab it. To reduce the risk of this type of crime, make sure that you don’t have any valuables in visible locations. Keep your blinds lowered when possible and avoid leaving jewelry, electronics, or cash next to windows.

To protect your belongings even further, consider securing them in a hard-to-reach spot. Many homeowners like to put their expensive items in a safety deposit box while on vacation. Another option can be placing items in a home safe. Though this step won’t necessarily prevent burglaries, it will protect your belongings.

Insulate Pipes During Winter

A pipe that breaks on vacation can be one of the most devastating home accidents. It can gush water without you noticing for days, so you come back to a soggy, moldy home. Keeping your heat above 50 degrees can reduce frozen pipes inside, but don’t forget about the pipes in your exterior, attic, crawlspace, or basement.

Try to take the time to go around your home and place insulation on pipes before you leave. This can protect pipes that won’t be warmed by your heating system and give you some peace of mind. If you have any pipes that you are especially concerned about, you can also shut off the water in your home. Just keep in mind that turning off your water supply will also shut off fire sprinklers or lawn irrigation.

Protect Electronics From Power Surges

Don’t forget that power surges can happen at any time. If something goes wrong with your power grid while you are away from home, you might not be able to turn off all your electronics in time. To avoid the issues caused by repeated power flickers or surges, it can be helpful to go ahead and unplug your items.

Of course, you’ll need to leave things like the refrigerator on. However, you can unplug computers, televisions, and other things that don’t need to run while you’re gone. If you don’t want to go around unplugging everything, another option is installing surge protectors. These helpful devices slot into place on your outlets and prevent damage to the electronics in your home.

Clean Out Any Easily Spoiled Food

Coming back home from vacation and walking into a stinky home can be very frustrating. To prevent this, it is important to throw away any food that could spoil while you are gone. Try to go through your refrigerator and cupboards and get rid of items that will expire while you’re on vacation.

To further reduce the risk of smelly rotten food, make sure you remember to remove other culprits as well. Wash any dishes you use before you go, so food left on dishes in a sink won’t spoil. You should also take out your trash to prevent any food particles in the trash from smelling.

Schedule Lawn Care for Longer Trips

If you’re going away for more than a weekend, you might want to arrange lawn care while you’re gone. Depending on your situation, this can include a neighbor stopping by to water plants or a company coming by to mow your lawn.

Arranging lawn care for your vacation has many benefits. It keeps your home looking occupied, so it can be a deterrent to thieves. Lawn care also keeps you from getting any overgrowths of weeds that attract pests to your home. The right care even ensures that your prized flowers, shrubs, or other landscaping remains in good condition while you are gone.

Take Steps to Prevent Fires

Fires in unattended homes are quite dangerous because no one will notice them until they cause a lot of damage. Before going on vacation, you should always follow obvious fire safety tips like blowing out candles or extinguishing fires in your fireplace.

Don’t forget that a lot of overlooked issues can cause fires. Make sure that your furnace is maintained and check all electronic cables to see if any are sparking or broken. Ensure that heaters, heating pads, and electric blankets are all turned off and unplugged. Finally, check to see that all flammable materials, like piles of leaves or oily rags, are properly disposed of far away from the home.

Prepare Your Home for Storms

Weather predictions aren’t always accurate, so always act like a strong storm will come through the area while you’re gone. Taking a few basic storm safety measures can prevent damage in case an unexpected squall blows through the area. Start by securing any loose outdoor equipment, like gardening tools or lawn ornaments, that could blow around.

Next, take a quick look at your storm drains. Clear debris out of your drains to ensure you won’t get flooding while you’re on vacation. Don’t forget to check your gutters as well. Remove leaves or any other debris that could potentially clog them.

Boost Your Home Security

Empty homes are appealing to burglars, and even if you aren’t concerned about your valuables, thieves can cause damage to doors and windows. There are many things you can do to make your home look less deserted such as operating lights on timers and pausing mail delivery while gone.

You can also increase your security measures to intimidate thieves. Things like video doorbells or motion-sensor alarms can be a great way to prevent burglaries. If you don’t have the budget for these options, even a fake home alarm sticker or sign can be a deterrent.

If you would like help removing mold, turn to Pur360. We are headquartered in the Chicago area but have multiple locations throughout the U.S., so our team of experts has plenty of experience helping homeowners. We assist with mold remediation, odor removal, sanitization, carpet and drywall removal, attic stain removal, light painting, and other services following storms and other disasters. Contact Pur360 today to schedule your next appointment.