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Buttoning Down the House Before Traveling

Travel is a favorite pastime for many people. The opportunity to escape the routine and experience new places is very appealing, even when it’s done in the context of a business or educational experience.

Indeed, the only thing that can introduce an element of reluctance in most travelers is their concern about what may happen to their home while they’re away. And it’s a legitimate issue; too many people have come home from vacation to find their homes burglarized, damaged by water, or invaded by pests.

Fortunately, nearly all of these problems can be avoided. The steps necessary to head off these common issues are simple and should be integrated into your normal preparations for travel.

Pest Management

It may not come to the top of most people’s lists, but that’s the reason it befalls so many people. While it’s true that a long-term invader like termites is no more likely to arrive while you’re gone than when you’re home, other pests are quite different. Roaches, ants, and spiders can easily populate your home while you’re away, taking advantage of your absence to build nests and reproduce when you aren’t there to swat, stomp, or spray them.

That’s where prevention comes in. For instance, the Denver pest control experts can give you appropriate pre-travel treatments to make sure that you’ve reinforced your protection while you’re away, and the same goes for services of similar caliber in other cities. They can create chemical barricades to entry and advise you on other steps you can take to make your home less appealing to all types of pests.

Security

A little more obvious is our concern that someone will break in while we’re away. There are a number of strategies to help prevent this problem, but the specific one you choose depends on your circumstances.

For starters, have your mail stopped. It’s easy, it’s free, and it takes away one of the most obvious signs that no one is home–a full mailbox.

Another great decoy technique is to eliminate another common red flag–the absence of vehicles at your home. Offer your garage to someone who keeps a vehicle outdoors. It reduces damage to their vehicle and gives the illusion that you are home.

Using an alarm is a great idea. It can save you on your insurance all year, plus it provides added protection anytime you’re away. It can also scare off thieves before they have time to do much damage or take anything.

Another common strategy is to use a house sitter. This can be a great choice because it provides security as well as some basic home care–dog walking, plant watering, mail retrieval, package acceptance, and so forth. The sitter can also address one other issue…

Damage From Leaks

Water is an incredibly destructive force. Undetected, it can quickly do thousands of dollars of damage to your home while you’re away. While certain alarm systems can detect leaks and alert you, there’s no substitute for having someone in the house to see and hear water that comes through the roof, floods in from outdoors, or bursts through a weak pipe. That’s where a house sitter comes in.

But it doesn’t take a house sitter to avoid water damage. The easiest thing to do is simply to turn off your water when you leave. Many homes are built with cutoff valves inside, but a leak could still develop between the valve and your meter, running up a big water bill. Instead, consult your municipal water provider about turning it off at the meter. And be sure to turn off your water heater, because if a leak develops and empties your pipes, the water heater will work itself to death trying to heat an empty tank.

There will always be a little risk associated with leaving your home for several days. But with some proper planning, you can keep that risk small and increase the odds that you’ll enjoy your time away without an unpleasant surprise on your return.

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