Preparing Your Home For Summer Vacation
Helpful, Money-Saving Tips Brought to You by Ameri-Dry Summer has officially begun! The kids are out of school and you and your family are probably gearing up for a fun-filled summer vacation. Now that the plans are set and the luggage is packed, you’ve got one more thing to do. . . prepare your home. While many of us tend to make plans for who will pick up our mail and watch our pets, we often forget that our homes need a little attention before we head out of town. After all, the last thing you want to do is come home to an unwelcome (and costly) surprise after an enjoyable vacation. By following these simple steps, you can make sure that all you’ll have to do once you get home is unpack. Don’t leave your house looking deserted. Even though you’re not going to be at home, it doesn’t have to look like it. Be sure to take steps to make your home look like it’s occupied. Draw your window shades (leaving them slightly open), add timers to lights so they turn on and off at different times, and leave a car in the driveway. It may also be wise to have a trusted neighbor or friend stop by your home periodically to make sure everything is okay. All of these steps can ensure the security of your home. Save electricity by turning off unused appliances. By turning off unused appliances, you will save money on your next energy bill. While it may be wise to unplug your TV, computer, and oven, be sure NOT to turn off any device that may help your home in an emergency. Your sump pump should be left ON, even while away, so that it can deal with any accidental flooding that may happen. Speaking of potential flooding issues . . . Turn off your water supply. If possible, you should consider turning off the water supply to your house while you’re away. The last thing you’ll want to come home to is a flooded basement! If you can’t turn off the main water supply, consider shutting valves to your sinks, washing machine, and water heater. Check for clogged drains and gutters. No one (not even Ameri-Dry Guy) wants to come home after a relaxing vacation to a basement swimming in three inches of water. Be sure to check any drains for clogs that might prevent them from working and remove any debris from outside gutters.A clogged drain or gutter can lead to a mighty big mess if your basement floods while you’re gone. Be on the lookout for leaks. Take the time to go around your home and inspect the pipes under your sinks, in your basement, as well as your water heater. If you plan to keep your water supply on it is important that you check your water heater for signs of rust and weakening. If you do notice rust around the bottom of the heater and/or any leaks -- even if they seem minor -- you should have the unit checked immediately. You don’t want the gallons of water that are in your water heater to wind up on your basement floor, unless you’re going for an indoor pool. Adjust your air conditioning. Turning down your A/C will ensure that you are not wasting energy while away. Though you may be tempted to turn it off, DON’T! By keeping your A/C on a low setting not only will you avoid coming home to a hot house, but your unit will have less work to do once you come home. Close all interior doors. By closing all of the interior doors in your home, you are not only decreasing the need for a running A/C unit, but also limiting the spread of any fire or flood damage in the event that there is an emergency. Do a final walkthrough. We can all relate to the last few minutes before leaving on vacation -- frantically running around the house, gathering up kids, picking up last minute items we forgot to pack, and going back and forth to the car again and again. Here’s one more thing to add to your to do list: take a few extra minutes to do a final walkthrough of your home. It could just save you countless hours (and dollars) in the long run. Barry Antonelli, the Founder and President of Ameri-Dry ® Systems ( www.ameri-dry.com), is a waterproofing expert who has dedicated three decades of his life to solving all types of basement, crawlspace, and foundation water problems. He began his career in 1978, a time when aggressive companies and pushy salesmen were the norm, but quickly changed the face of the industry by instituting programs to empower the customer, including the industry's first Customer Relations Division; an independent Customer Service Department; and the industry's first Lifetime Warranty Program. By the mid-1990s, Antonelli's company was waterproofing over 1,000 homes and structures every year, while still offering a Full Life-of-the-Structure Warranty. His commitment to customer service and to developing innovative techniques for solving wet basement, wet crawlspace, and foundation problems continues. Mr. Antonelli can be reached at Contact ». Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/AmeriDry.