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Things To Turn Off When Leaving Your Home For Extended Periods

Question: I am going on vacation for 2 months and I am wondering what to turn off and what to leave on in my home? I do not want to come home to a flood or melted food in my refrigerator. Can you tell me everything I can do to make my home safe and disaster proof when I am away? Answer: If you are going to be away from your home for long periods of time, here is what to turn off. Whether you are going on a long vacation (holiday), a business trip, or leaving your home empty for whatever reason, here are some important tips to keep your home safe.

what to turn off and leave on

Should I turn the water off? The MOST important is WATER!. If any pipe or water line bursts, your house will flood. To avoid this, you need to turn off the water supply to your home. Turning off the water to your whole house will make it impossible to have a flood caused by a broken pipe. A water flood will destroy your carpets, flooring, drywall, appliances and more. Your homes main water supply shut-off valve should be located in your garage, in the yard, or out near the street under a panel that has the label “water” on the top. If you are leaving for more than a few days, it is best to turn off the water to avoid a flooding problem. NOTE: Remember to turn off your automatic ice maker in your freezer so it does not constantly attempt to pull in water. If you have a watering system in your yard, if you turn the water off to your home, your grass, garden, or flowers will not get water.

Main water shut off ball valve

Should I leave my A/C or Heat on? Another question people need to know is concerning the central air. If you are leaving for extended periods, leaving the central air on or off will depend on the weather outside. If is is extremely hot outside, it is best to leave the air conditioner temperature on a setting that will keep the home slightly cool. If it is extremely cold outside, it is best to leave the heat on so items in your home do not freeze. Keeping the heater temperature on will help keep the water pipes in the wall from freezing. Even if your water main is turned off, some water may still be trapped in the pipes. If you allow the home to freeze, these pipes may burst and cause damage to your home. To be safe, leave the central AC or heat on.

Should I unplug my refrigerator? Unplugging your refrigerator is recommended in case of power outage. If there is a power outage, your food will warm up or defrost and then refreeze when the power comes back on. This is not a good thing to happen. You may not know the food in the freezer was thawed and then refrozen. This food could make you sick depending on how long the power outage had lasted. To avoid all of this, eat or give away all your food before you leave. Then unplug the refrigerator/freezer and you won’t have anything to worry about.

Should I turn the water heater off? Most people do not turn off the water heater when they leave. However it is a good idea to avoid problems. You can turn off power to the water heater by switching off the breaker. When you have the power off you can drain it using a hose. Draining it will prevent a problem if a leak did occur. NOTE: If you are leaving for a few months and do not have anyone checking up on your home while you are away, then tuning off and draining your water heater is recommended.

Should I unplug electronics? Yes. Unplugging electronics will avoid problems if there is a power spike or lightning strike. Removing power from your electronics will also help save a small amount of electricity. If your electronics are plugged into a power strip, then you can simply just unplug the power strip. Unplugging computers, routers, and modems is 100% recommended.

Should I unplug appliances? It is a good idea to unplug just about anything that uses electricity. Unplug everything you can including your dishwasher, washer, dryer, coffee maker, toaster, garbage disposal, blender, and so on.

Should I unplug my garage door opener? YES! Thieves have found out how to open a garage door by using hacked remotes and universal remotes. Leave your automatic garage door opener unplugged to avoid being robbed.

Empty Home Suggestions: To make it look like someone is living in your home while you are away, install timers on the lamps and lights inside your home. Park your car inside the garage so people do not see your car just sitting in the driveway. It is also a great idea to have a friend or family member to check on your home every 3 days or so. Have someone keep the newspapers from piling up on your driveway, keep the lawn mowed, have someone get your mail, and check on the general condition of your home. You can also have the post office hold all of your mail and then just pick it all up when you return home.

Here is a golden tip for extra safety: Do not post that you are leaving on an extended vacation or business trip on Facebook! The reasons are obvious. If you post that you are leaving your home empty for a few months, you may be sending strangers an invitation to burglarize your home. Avoid telling the world your home is going to be empty.

BONUS VIDEO: Tips to keep your home safe while you’re on vacation

Do you have any other suggestions when leaving a home empty? Please leave a comment below.

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5 thoughts on “Things To Turn Off When Leaving Your Home For Extended Periods”

  1. I actually drain my pipes when I leave for several months in the winter. That way I don’t worry about water left in the pipes that can freeze.

  2. DIY Project Help Tips

    It all depends on what is in your home while on vacation… pets, anything sensitive to temp?
    If the temp outside is in the 80s, you can set the temp to around 78F to keep your home cool.
    If you are concerned about the electric bill, put the temp even higher to about 80F+.

  3. Also, avoid posting pictures on Facebook while you are away… that is a dead giveaway as well.

    Also, if your garage door has a key opener as well, put a couple of bolts on the triangular parts that pull inwards so that it cannot open.

  4. The power-outage/defrost-refreeze issue is potentially a problem even if you’re only away for a few days. Easiest thing to do is put a couple ice cubes in a ziploc bag and check them when you get back. If they’re not at all deformed, then there hasn’t been any disruption to the power, or at least not enough of one to cause any problems.

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