Leaving home for the holidays?

Leaving home for the holidays?


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We at Empire property Investments know that your home is one of your greatest investments. Taking some basic steps to protect it before going away for the holidays can leave you with a peace of mind while enjoying time with family and friends. Before I begin with the home tasks, I want this very, very basic action to be at the beginning. While social media can be a great way to communicate and share with everyone, it could also end up being your worst enemy. Don’t advertise that you or your family is going away for the holidays. This will let everyone know that your house will be vacant, making it a prime target for thieves. If sharing is important, share the memories once the trip is over and everyone is back at home. Talking to kids about when to post vacation that information might be a good idea as they (some, not all) use social media the most. The same thing goes for answering machines (if you still have one of those). Leaving a standard greeting set to answer after 5 ring is normal. Changing the greeting to let people know no one is home is the same as posting it in social media. This prevention method is the most overseen measure that no one thinks about, and leads to theft.

Now that the social media is out of the way let’s get to protecting your home. This is the time when knowing the person that lives next to you is important. Building a relationship with your neighbors allows you to scratch each others back when you need each other. I personally never cared about neighbors until I owned a home, now I understand the value of a favor. Allow me to explain… a neighbor can get the mail, turn lights on and off in different parts of the house, and maybe ever move your car from one side of the driveway to the other. This will make it look like someone is home. If you are going to be away for a log period time, you might want to convince him or her to flush the toilets once in a while, ill touch on that a little later.

If a neighbor is out of the question, then maybe these tips can help. Leaving some lights on, or on timers in key areas can help make it look like someone is home. Places like the kitchen, one or two bedrooms, and the outside lights. Placing a timer on an old AM/FM radio is also a great trip to make sound. All though it might seem rudimentary, it does make it harder to determine if someone is home.

Preventing disasters is our next topic. No one wants to come back from vacation to a flooded house. Shutting the water off at the main valve and draining the water from the pipes will prevent water from freezing and breaking while no one is home. If you absolutely need to have the water running for irrigation or heating system, then leave the heat on at 65°. This will prevent any water from freezing and also keep your pets at a comfortable temperature (if you are leaving them for short periods of time). To save some money, set your water heater to “Vacation” so that the heat cycles are not as frequent, but will keep the water hot. I would let the water run for a bit after getting back from vacation, this will clear out the pipes from any sediments that might have been deposited while the water was not moving.

If you have outside water spigots, turn of the water from inside the house and let the water drain out from the outside. This will prevent that water from freezing and breaking the valve. It will also prevent someone tapping in to your line with a hose and using your water while you are not there. As crazy as that may seem, it has happened before.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In our case, pouring a half cup of chlorine in the bowl will prevent bacteria (or the yellow stuff) growing around the bowl. If you plan on leaving for a long period of time, and arranged for a neighbor or a family member to come and check on things, ask them to flush the toilets in the house. This will prevent the water from evaporating in the bowl and letting sewer gasses in the house.

And last but not least is the toilets. Cleaning around the kitchen to make sure all food is put away, and dirty dishes are washed will prevent little furry friends coming in to your home looking for food. Their sense of smell is way better than ours and can lead them to even the smallest amounts of food left out. Don’t stock your refrigerator before going away as the food might spoil in the fridge. If you have perishable food, giving it to a neighbor or family member will prevent food from going to waist. If you wanted to take it up a notch, you can look like a hero by taking the food to a shelter and earn your good deed for the day.

I hope these basic tips help you get a piece of mind. If it was helpful, or if you have any questions please emailing me at info@epi-llc.com.

Happy holidays,

Empire Property Investments, LLC

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