Are you preparing your house for extended vacation? Maybe you’re a snowbird who’s packing up for the season! Either way, in this week’s video (click to watch) I interviewed Henry Barrie from Barriecade Home Watch Services to find out the 10 most important things we need to consider when leaving our home for extended periods of time!
Hi there, welcome back! I’m Lindsay, with the Wise Move AZ Team at Realty ONE Group. If you want to stay up to date on all things Anthem and Real Estate then you need to subscribe to our YouTube Channel. Pro Tip: You’re also going to want to hit that little bell icon, while you’re there, so that you’re the first to know when our new videos are posted every single Thursday!
This week I was joined by a very special guest, Henry Barrie. Henry is the owner of Barriecade Home Watch Services here in Anthem. Barriecade Home Watch Services is all about peace of mind. Anytime you are away for an extended period it’s not only good for your peace of mind but also good from an insurance standpoint to have someone check in on your home to make sure everything is as it should be.
This service is particularly valuable in here in Anthem (and throughout Arizona), as we do have a significant number of seasonal residents.
Henry and I took a walk around the house so that he could show us the 10 most important things we, as home owners, should consider when preparing our home for an extended absence. Of course there are way more than 10 things we need to do when leaving our home for an extended period of time, so stick around until the end of this blog post and we’ll give you access to our checklist for extended absences.
We started our tour in the garage. I asked Henry what things we needed to be aware of out here….
#1: Turn Off the Water to the House
If you have a vacation valve,turn the valve to the off position. If you don’t, please consider installing one. Even if you don’t have anyone checking on the house, this valve will shut off all the water to the interior of the home except for the cold water at the kitchen sink. This way if anything breaks, a pipe, a toilet, or something else, a limited amount of water will get in to the interior of the home. Many home owners have had expensive repairs due to water issues including replacing drywall, flooring, etc. “The vacation valve will pay for itself believe me!” – Henry Barrie
#2: Turn the Hot Water Heater to Pilot or Vacation Mode
If you are gone for the season, many people actually shut the hot water off completely by turning off the natural gas at the tank. The choice is yours, but either way, hot water is not required when you are not there.
#3: Unplug your Recirculating Pump (if you have one)
This pump calls for hot water on the timing that you set it for and of course, if you are not there, you do not want this pump calling for hot water when you have gone to off or pilot/vacation mode.
#4: Consider Getting a Trickle Charger for your Cars
This charger will maintain a charge on the batteries for pennies a day. For Henry’s clients, he takes their cars for a short drive to rotate the tires and make sure the summer heat hasn’t caused any problems. For those of you that have a golf cart, leave them plugged in and charged. Again, for Henry’s clients, he drives them and checks the batteries for water. Nobody wants to come home from vacation to find out that their car died while they were away!
Next we headed inside so Henry could show us what we need to do in there.
#5: Empty the Fridge and Freezer of any Perishable Food Items
“You don’t want to return to a house that smells like someone died there!” Unfortunately, Henry was speaking from experience on this one! Dispose of these perishable or frozen foods by giving them to a neighbor, trashing them or donating them to your local food bank. The fridge is, however, great for storing batteries, canned goods, candles, and non-perishable items. Remember to turn off the ice maker. Also. don’t forget to empty your trash before going on vacation too, especially if you’ve just put all the perishable items from your fridge in it!
#6: Unplug Anything you’re not Using
This includes toasters, lamps, TV’s stereos, computers, printers, etc. You can also consider flipping the fuse to the ‘off’ position for the stove, microwave and dryer. This will help to cut down on electricity bills and ensure that nothing happens if there is a surge while you are gone. It’s not a bad idea to leave a lamp or two on using timers. Having them come on in the evening hours will make the house look lived in.
#7: Set your Thermostat to have the Air Conditioning Cool at a High Temperature
You don’t want to pay to keep your house cool while you are gone, but you want to make sure it doesn’t get too hot inside while you’re away. Henry usually recommends that his clients set the temperature to cool somewhere between 80°– 90°F. Also, it’s a great idea to leave some buckets of water in the bathrooms, kitchen, and main living areas of the house to keep some moisture in the air. Henry checks these on a regular basis and tops them up as needed.
#8: Secure All Windows & Doors
Additionally, be sure to close all window coverings. Not only does this help keep the home secure but it can also increase your energy efficiency and reduce your cooling bills.
#9: Keep your Pool Maintenance and Landscape Contractors While you are out of Town
Ask them to send you electronic confirmations when work is completed. This will help ensure that there are no major problems with the pool or irrigation system that could turn out to be expensive fixes down the road.
#10 Hire a Home Watch Professional (like Henry)
He or she will take care of your home while you are out of town. Hiring a home watch professional is a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing that your most precious asset is well taken care of. Henry takes care of all the things we mentioned above and SO much more.
For a full list of what Henry does and to get a free copy of our Extended Vacation Checklist, simply click here.
If you want to get in touch with Henry, you can contact him here:
We hope you found this helpful in getting your home ready for an extended absence!
See YOU, next Thursday!