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How to Prepare Your Home Before Going on Vacation

Planning for a vacation is exciting, but it can also be stressful when you think about leaving your home unattended. The last thing you want to worry about while sipping cocktails on a beach is whether your home is safe. Fortunately, with a few simple steps, you can ensure your home is secure and well-maintained, allowing you to fully relax and enjoy your time away from St. Marys, Kingsland, Kings Bay or Camden County, Georgia.

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about preparing your home before going on vacation. From securing your home and managing utilities to taking care of the outdoors and protecting your belongings, we've got you covered. And if you do come home to an emergency such as a water leak from your AC or a busted pipe, rest assured that ServiceMaster of Camden-Charlton is available 24/7, 7 days a week for emergency water extraction and restoration! Let's get started!

A woman with a suitcase sitting before a mountain
Prepare your home before leaving for vacation!

Why Preparing Your Home Before Vacation is Crucial

Your vacation is all booked, hopefully with our friend Christine Turman at Sunshine Vacations Travel Agency, and you are excited to go! But, leaving your home unprepared can lead to unwanted stress and potential costs when you return. Imagine returning home to find a burst pipe or a break-in. Preparing your home can save you from these nightmares and ensure you come back to a welcoming environment.

Important Things to Remember Before Leaving for Vacation

Adjust Your Thermostat

Woman adjusting thermostat before vacation.
Proper prep can cut energy costs & avoid pricey repairs. Simple thermostat adjustments can make a big impact!

Proper preparation can help you save on energy bills and prevent costly repairs. Just by adjusting your thermostat, it can make a significant difference. Adjusting your thermostat maintains a safe home temperature and humidity level, while also preventing unnecessary energy and cost expenditures for personal comfort. During summer, aim for 82-85 degrees, and in winter, target 60-65 degrees for optimal conditions.

Avoid Coming Home to a Mess

Ensuring your home is in good condition before you leave can prevent unpleasant surprises. A little effort now can save you a lot of trouble later. Nobody wants to come home from vacation to dirty dishes or a pile of unwashed clothes! Be sure to vacuum your carpets, clean the floors and you'll come home knowing you won't have to do it after your travels. If you can't get to cleaning your floors before leaving, contact us for a carpet or hardwood floor cleaning! We'd be happy to help! Some other tips include

  • Throw away any food in the fridge or on the counter that will go bad while you’re gone.

  • Place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to absorb odors.

  • Take out the trash.

  • Leave closet doors open to prevent musty air.

Unplug Your Appliances

It may seem a little tedious to wander through your home unplugging every single appliance and charger, but the benefits make it worth it. Unplugging electronics like computers, TVs, cooking appliances, and more can prevent excess power usage while also reducing your risk of an electrical fire. The last thing you want to get while on vacation is a call about a fire or smoke damage. If you do, remember that we specialize in smoke damage restoration.

Replacing batteries in a smoke detector.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to confirm proper functioning; replace batteries as necessary.

Ensure Detectors are Working

Be sure to also test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are functioning correctly. Replace batteries if needed.

Check for Leaks

Woman calling ServiceMaster of Camden-Charlton for Water Extraction and Restoration services.
Checking for leaks before leaving for vacation can save you from coming home to water leaks or burst pipes!

Inspect your home for water leaks. Check outdoors to ensure all faucets are off. Indoors, focus on water connections behind toilets, under sinks, and to water heaters and washers. Address these issues before leaving to prevent water damage and reduce bills. Consider shutting some off completely. For extended absences, close toilet, washer, dishwasher, and sink valves to avoid leaks. Depending on the season, shut the main water valve, leaving it on in winter to prevent pipe damage. Lastly, turn off the water heater or switch to "vacation mode" for added safety. If you do find any leaks, we recommend our friends over at Cumberland Plumbing to help!

Secure Your Home

Your home is your sanctuary, and securing it should be a top priority. It's always a good idea to make it look like you are home, even when you're not home. Here are some essential steps to keep your home safe.

"Be Home"

  • If you can, keep a car parked in your driveway. If you do not have a car to park, perhaps a trusted neighbor wouldn't mind parking their car in your driveway occasionally.

  • Use a timer to turn on at least one or two lights in the home regularly. Timers, motion sensor or dusk to dawn outdoor lights are a great idea as well.

  • Refrain from posting on social media until you return home, as this can let your followers know that your home is empty.

  • Have your neighbor or friend take your trash cans to the curb on designated trash days or ask them to bring the trash cans back in.

Lock All Doors and Windows

This might seem obvious, but it's crucial. Double-check all entry points to ensure they are locked. Also, be sure to bring in any spare keys you have hidden around the outside of your home.

Set Up Security Systems or Cameras

Installing security cameras and alarm systems can deter potential burglars. Modern systems allow you to monitor your home remotely.

mailbox overflowing with mail.
Sign of an empty house: a pile of mail. Keep your mail on hold or ask a neighbor to grab it.

Put Mail and Newspaper Deliveries on Hold

A pile of mail is a clear sign that no one is home. Request to have your mail held or ask a neighbor to collect it.

Request a House Watch by Your Local Police Department

Some local police departments offer house watch services. The House Watch program is designed to provide homeowners a means of having their residence checked periodically by an officer when you are away from home on vacation or an extended weekend. If you are interested in this service, visit your local Police Department to complete the necessary form or submit online. They will periodically check your home while you’re away and contact you if they feel something is amiss.

Ask a Trusted Neighbor

Having a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your home can be invaluable. They can collect mail if you forget to put it on hold, take out the trash or put your trash cans away, and report any suspicious activity. You may even want to give them a key to your house and let them know how to shut off water, gas and electricity. In case of an emergency, your neighbor can act quickly.

Police Cars watching home for House Watch Program
See if your local police department offers a House Watch program that offers homeowners peace of mind by having officers check their residence periodically while they are away on vacation or a weekend trip.

Taking Care of the Outdoors

Don't forget about the exterior of your home. Proper outdoor maintenance is essential year-round, but especially before going on vacation.

Arrange for Lawn Care

If you do not already have a lawn care service, consider hiring someone to mow your lawn and maintain your garden. This keeps your home looking lived-in and deters burglars. Spencer at Honey 2 Do List does an excellent job for us!

Store Outdoor Furniture and Tools

Secure patio furniture, grills, and gardening tools. This prevents them from being stolen or damaged by weather.

Protecting Your Belongings

Your personal belongings are valuable. Take steps to protect them while you’re gone.

Safeguard Valuables and Important Documents

Store valuable items and essential documents in a safe or a safety deposit box.

Ensure Insurance Coverage is Up to Date

Verify that your home insurance policy is current. This provides peace of mind in case of any incidents. If you need someone to review your policy, we can't safe enough good things about how easy Trace at The Golden Isles Agency-Allstate makes it for our home or Kishan at Treehouse Insurance for our business.

Pack and Store Luggage Safely

Avoid leaving packed luggage in plain sight prior to leaving. Store it in a closet or a secure area to prevent theft.

A person reading a book on vacation
Enjoy your vacation knowing your home is secure!

Enjoy Your Vacation!

Finally, don't forget to enjoy your vacation! Preparing your home before going on vacation is essential for a stress-free trip. But once your on your trip, enjoy it! By following these steps, you can ensure your home is secure, your utilities are managed, and your belongings are protected. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing everything is taken care of.

If you do come home to an emergency water leak or fire/smoke damage, don't hesitate to contact your IICRC Certified ServiceMaster of Camden-Charlton for immediate assistance. Happy travels!

a flooded kitchen
We hope you don't come home to this! But if you do, know that ServiceMaster of Camden-Charlton has your back!

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