When you're traveling, you'll enjoy yourself more knowing everything at home is in order. This home safety checklist makes it easy to review and check off the things you want to do before leaving your home vacant for a few days to several weeks.
The checklist will make it easy to walk through the house one last time. The items on the checklist are meant to help you:
- Make sure your home is locked and secure.
- Avoid smelly, moldy things when you return from your trip.
- Save energy and the possibility of unnecessary home repairs from mishaps that could happen when you're not home.
Before You Leave
- Have your mail held and reschedule any deliveries that would tell someone you're not home, i.e. daily newspaper.
- Notify security alarm company of your travel plans and how to reach you while you're gone.
- Prepare an itinerary with contact numbers for family members and anyone else who might need to reach you, i.e. house sitter.
- Prepare a list of your home support team, along with their contact information. Include your plumber, electrician, HVAC, lawn service, security company plus insurance information. Take a copy with you and …
- Make sure a trusted neighbor has keys, along with your support team contacts, in case of an emergency.
- Pay bills that will come due while you're away from home.
- Make arrangements for lawn care (consider the same for snow removal), watering the plants & gardening while you're gone.
- Make a reservation for boarding your pets while you're gone.
While it's tempting to share your vacation plans with friends, it is better to keep your travel information off Facebook and other social networks until you return. Why go to the trouble to secure your home and then tell the world you're not there?
- Close and lock all windows and doors.
- Pull blinds down and close drapes to keep prying eyes out.
- Adjust thermostats, setting to 50 degrees in the winter or 78 degrees in the summer.
- Unplug expensive electrical items like computers and stereo equipment which could be damaged by lightening.
- Remove phone from the hook or turn the ringer down if you don't have an answering machine. Never leave a message about your absence.
- Put 1 or 2 lights on timers to give the feeling that someone is home. You can also do this with the a radio or television.
- Put valuables in a safe deposit box in case of burglary or fire.
- Get rid of food in the refrigerator which will go bad.
- Leave things clean to avoid smells by running the dishwasher, cleaning up dishes in the sink, taking out the garbage.
- Check to make sure stove, burners and other appliances are turned off.
- Turn the refrigerator to energy-saver mode.
- Shut off water to the washing machine, and get shut-off valves installed if you don't have them (read about Washing Machine Hoses).
- Clean out litter boxes.