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Preparing the House for a Winter Vacation

January and February tend to be the coldest months of year. Are you planning a temporary escape to somewhere warm? If you’ll be away for multiple days, it’s important to protect your home from potential disaster. Be sure to follow these tips when preparing the house for a winter vacation.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Turning your thermostat down when you’re away helps save on utility bills, but you don’t want your pipes to freeze. Experts recommend setting the temperature no lower than 55 degrees in the winter.

However, you should keep it closer to 60 when you’re gone for multiple days and/or the temps are at severe lows (which we’re all too familiar with here in Minnesota). For added safety, open cabinets and closet doors to let warm air reach your plumbing.

Lock All Windows and Doors

Locking doors and windows may seem a bit obvious, but it can be easy to forget one here and there. Go through the entire home and double-check. Plus, locking your windows helps ensure a tight seal that keeps the heat in and the cold out.

Unplug Appliances Throughout the Home

Even when not in use, appliances still draw some power if they’re plugged in. Unplugging them not only saves on energy costs, but also helps avoid the risk of an electrical fire due to a faulty switch, power surge, or a rodent chewing a wire.

Ensure Your Home Security System is Working

Your home security system is worthless if it’s faulty. Double-check any camerasalarms, and other equipment you use to secure your home.

Many devices today, such as Ring Doorbell Cameras, connect right to your smartphone or tablet, letting you keep an eye on your home with ease while you are away. Contact your local home security experts to learn more about keeping your home safe.

Check All Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have good batteries/power connections and are working properly. If they’re not connected to a constantly monitored system, have a neighbor or loved one check in while you’re away.

Smart products, like the Nest Protect, send alerts to your smartphone, providing immediate notice of any issues no matter where you are. Consult an electrical service professional about upgrading to home automation products.

Clean Out the Kitchen

Garbage and old food can stink up your home and attract rodents. Take out the trash and throw out any old or soon-to-be-expired food that might go bad while you’re away.  Freeze what you can.

Ask a Friend or Family Member to Check In

If any pets will be staying behind, having someone you trust house-sit or check on your home is a must. Even if you don’t have pets, this person can send updates and assurances that provide the peace of mind you need to relax and enjoy your trip.

In Minnesota, this time of year means short days and (brutally) low temps. We can’t blame you for wanting a break from the snow and bitter cold. But before heading out, be sure you take these steps when preparing the house for a winter vacation! The experts at Stafford Home Service Inc. are here for all your residential electrical and HVAC needs all year round. Contact us to learn more.

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