10 Important Things You Need to Do Before Your Wintertime Vacation

If getting away from the winter cold and snow sounds like a great plan to you, then you might be planning a quick winter getaway somewhere warm. As great as it would be to kick back and soak up some rays in the warm sun by the ocean, there are some drawbacks to vacationing in the winter. Snow storms can occur while you’re out, your pipes could freeze or burst, or you might forget to turn down your heat and be left with a utility bill that skyrocketed because of a brutal cold front that might pass through.

Don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to help prevent any of these scenarios from playing out. Just follow these 10 tips below to keep your house safe from the elements and from burglars, and you’ll be on your way to a relaxing wintertime vacation in no time!

Shut Off Your Water – The winter season is a dangerous time for unattended pipes. Before you go, shut off all the water in your home at your main water valve. This is an easy way to help you prevent your pipes from freezing over or bursting while you’re gone, which can be costly and cause a great deal of damage.

Turn the Heat Down – If no one’s going to be home while you’re on vacation, there’s no sense leaving the heat around 70. Feel free to turn the heat down to 55 degrees. It will help you reduce your utility bills while you’re on vacation.

Turn Down the Hot Water Heater – While it isn’t hazardous to leave your hot water temperature at its regular setting, turning it down to the lowest setting while you’re out can help you save both energy and money. Be sure to put this task on your list of to-dos before you go!

Clean Out the Sink – Have you ever accidentally forgotten to clean the sink trap and then return to a stinky home a few days later? If you have, then you know how unpleasant that can be. Be sure to clean out the sink trap and run the garbage disposal before venturing out. You can also deodorize your sink by throwing in some vinegar, lemon rinds, or baking soda while the disposal runs.

Hold the Mail – A sure sign to burglars that a home is temporarily vacant is seeing piles of mail or newspapers outside the home. Remember to stop by your post office and ask for them to hold all mail for you until you return home. You can also ask a friend, relative, or neighbor you trust to take care of your mail and keep a close eye on your home while you’re on vacation. This will help deter burglars from breaking in.

Put the Lights on Timers – Did you know that more than 2 million burglaries occur in the United States every year? Aside from having your mail be held while you’re out, try putting a few lamps on timers for the evening hours, preferably between 5:30 and 9 p.m., when people are normally up. This will help make it look like you’re still at home and may help in preventing a break-in while you’re gone.

Clean Out the Fridge – Take advantage of the last trash day before you head out and clean out the fridge. You don’t have to get down and dirty with scrubbing the insides down. Just look to see if your drawers contain any old spinach, moldy cheese, old meat, and the like, and dispose of these perishables so they don’t decompose any further.

Ask for Shoveling Assistance – The weather gets tricky during the winter months, especially while your home is left unattended. When a winter storm hits, you’ll want to make sure that the snow is cleared as soon as possible so that the precipitation doesn’t refreeze and cause accidents. Ask your neighbors to shovel any snow that may fall or pay a neighborhood kid to shovel it while you’re out. In return, offer to do the same if they were ever to go out of town in the winter.

Clean the House – While this isn’t a requirement, there isn’t anything like coming home to a clean home after being on vacation. Go ahead and dust, sweep, vacuum, and wash the sheets before heading out. It’s definitely worth the extra energy!

Unplug the Electronics – Did you know that your computer, television, DVD player, and entertainment systems use up power, even when they’re not on? According to the U. S. Department of Energy, this “vampire” usage makes up 10-20% of the electric bills we receive. Don’t pay for energy you aren’t using; remember to unplug all of your electronics before you head out. It’ll save you money and help prevent any fires from occurring while you’re gone!

Before you pack up your car and head out to your wintertime adventure, make sure to stop by to see your friends here at Madison Mutual! We’ll make sure that your home insurance policy is up-to-date in the event that something bad were to happen to your home while you’re soaking up the rays. Give us a call at 1-800-766-MMIC or find us online at www.madisonmutual.com.