As summer approaches, you look forward to your upcoming vacation. You’ve bought your tickets, packed your bags, and arranged care for your pets.
But there’s one more thing you need to do before you step out the door: check your utilities. This checklist can help you know how to prepare your utilities before you leave on your trip.
1. Set Your Thermostat
You might feel tempted to turn off your air conditioning so you can save on utility costs. But hot weather could damage your plants, your wood floors, and even your furniture. Instead, keep your HVAC unit on so that air still circulates throughout your home. You can protect your home and still save on utility costs by setting your thermostat to 85 degrees.
2. Set Your Water Heater to Vacation Mode
Another way to save money on utility bills is to turn your water heater to its “vacation” setting. On vacation mode, your water heater will run less frequently. If your water heater doesn’t have a vacation mode on the dial, turn it down to low instead.
3. Check Your Sump Pump
When a rainstorm occurs, your sump pump removes water from your basement to prevent flooding. Check your sump pump before you leave by dumping some water in it. If the sump pump doesn’t remove the water, call a professional for a repair.
4. Use Security Lights
Turning off all your lights helps you save on electricity costs while you’re gone. But leaving all your lights off sends a figurative “welcome” sign to burglars. The best option is to turn on timed security lights. If you don’t have security lights, leave on a light or two.
5. Shut Off the Water Supply
Some people have returned home from vacation to an unpleasant surprise: flooded carpets. Unexpected flooding can occur because of water leaks or a burst washing machine hose. To prevent this scenario, check your faucets, toilets, and showers for leaks. If you notice any leaks, have a plumber repair them.
Even after you’ve had any leaks fixed, you should still turn off your main water supply while you’re on vacation. Turning off your water supply guarantees that you’ll avoid flooding problems. If you’ll be gone for more than a month, ask a friend to run your faucets, flush your toilets, and run your dishwasher once a month. These measures prevent these appliances from drying out from lack of use.
6. Empty Your Refrigerator
Throw away any food that’s close to its expiration date. If you’re throwing away all your food, you can unplug the refrigerator. Just leave the door open to prevent mold growth.
7. Run the Garbage Disposal
If you leave old food in the garbage disposal, an unpleasant smell can linger in your home for weeks. Before you head out the door, mix a half cup of vinegar and a cup of water and pour it down the disposal. Run the disposal for a short time and you’ll leave a pleasant scent behind.
8. Unplug All Electronics
If you’re not using your electronics, it doesn’t matter whether they’re plugged in or not, right? Actually, unplugging your electronics and turning off surge protectors is a good idea. If a storm causes a power surge, that power surge could damage your electronic devices.
Unplugging your electronics can also help you save money on energy costs. Even when you aren’t using these devices, they’re still drawing power when plugged in. Unplug appliances like microwaves and toasters, as well as technology like computers and televisions.
Once you perform these tasks, you’ll feel more comfortable leaving your home. While you hike in the mountains or relax on the beach, you can feel at ease that your home’s utilities are taken care of.