Most people have watched the movie Home Alone or have at least know the storyline. To summarize, a family goes away for Christmas vacation, and two robbers scope out the house and decide to break in and steal everything. However, the family forgets their youngest son, who spends his days pranking the robbers and keeping them at bay. While this makes for an amusing movie plot, being in this situation in reality is not what anyone wants – especially when they are out of the country. Now, in you’re wondering how to prepare your house before you go on vacation this winter, read on!
While the likelihood of you forgetting one of your children at home when you leave for winter vacation in next to none, the chances of someone breaking into your home while you’re away is not out of the realm of possibility. We’ve compiled a list of ways to keep your house safe while you travel to warmer temperatures during the winter months.
How to Prepare Your House Before You Go on Vacation
Snowbirds will be quick to tell you that going away for a weekend or even a week is nothing compared to leaving for months at a time. Preparing your home for an extended absence is vital to ensure that everything remains status quo while you are gone. We will detail some key things below, including turning off water valves, adjusting your thermostat, and having someone check on your home regularly.
Turning off the Water
Turning off water valves while you leave for the winter is one of the most important things and should be kept at the top of your list of things to do before you go. Water is one of the biggest threats to your home, and even just a tiny leak can cause thousands of dollars in damage. In the winter months, the risk of your pipes freezing is real, and when pipes freeze, they eventually burst, and this isn’t something you’ll want to come back to after your vacation. Before leaving, we suggest turning off any water valves you can, including outdoor taps and laundry. Some people even turn off the entire water supply to the house before slipping away for the winter. Others prefer to keep some water flowing and have the person checking in on their home flush the toilets and drains occasionally to prevent odours from coming up the drain.
Turn Down the Heat
There’s no point in keeping an empty home warm and toasty, but you still need to keep the heat on while you’re away. This will prevent your indoor pipes from freezing and condensation from building up inside your electronics. Turn the heat down, but not off.
Pause Unnecessary Utilities
Some of your utilities like cable and internet can be paused while you’re away for a small, one-time fee. If you’re planning to go away for just a couple of weeks, this may not make sense, but pausing these utilities can save you hundreds of dollars if you’ll be away for a few months. That saved money is sure to come in handy while on vacation!
Find a Trustworthy Neighbour to Keep Watch
Having eyes and ears on your home while you’re away can make you feel much more comfortable leaving your home empty for weeks or months. This is where having great neighbours pays off. Ask or hire someone to bring in the mail, turn on lights occasionally and shovel the snow to make your home look lived-in and less inviting to thieves. Have them look around for anything out of the ordinary and immediately bring it to your attention.
You should also be aware that your home insurance terms may require you to have someone check on your home regularly if you are away for more than a few days. For example, some insurance companies will not cover pipes that burst during your absence, unless a competent person checks on the interior of your home every few days.
Leverage Technology While You’re Away
Thankfully we have the technology to give you some peace of mind while away. Installing security lights and cameras outside the entrances to your home is a great way to ensure that your house is kept safe. Most security cameras can be viewed using a smartphone, and these apps can also control lights giving you the ability to turn lights on and off while you’re away, further giving off the illusion that someone is home. An alarm system is also a great idea to keep your home safe from intruders.
Many Canadians head south for the winter months. Now that working remotely is so popular, it is expected that the number of “snowbirds” may increase, and the term will no longer be reserved for those who have retired. If you’re planning to escape the harsh Canadian winters in favour of a warmer climate, follow these tips on how to prepare your house before you go on vacation, so you can relax and enjoy yourself worry-free.