Preparing Your Home For An Extended Absence- by Bob Lowry


By Bob Lowry

A reader reminded me that I promised to prepare an overview of what Betty and I did prior to our 2 month RV trip this summer to get our home ready. While everyone’s situation is different, maybe this will be helpful if you ever find yourself needing to do something similar.Some of these steps can be taken ahead of time, others just before leaving:Inside the home:

* all electric appliances, computers, TVs, etc connected to power strips.
All power strips then unplugged from wall.
*Microwave, stove, dishwasher, clothes washer & dryer unplugged.
*refrigerator ice maker emptied and turned off.
*refrigerator emptied, unplugged, cleaned, doors propped open.
*water heater turned off.
*Internet modem and wireless router unplugged.
*plastic wrap over toilets (to keep any bugs from entering house after water evaporated from bowls).
*overflow drains in sinks and bathtubs covered with blue painter’s tape.
*disposal run, baking soda down both kitchen drains.
*stoppers placed in kitchen sinks.
*wooden braces put in downstairs window and patio door tracks to keep closed.
*new light bulbs in lamps connected to timers.
*timers on three lamps to come on at different times during evening.
*cancel Netflix DVD service.
*garage door opener put in locked position.
*garage door openers and keys removed from car in garage.
*door from garage to house locked.
*doggie door panel put in place and locked.
*upstairs windows locked.
*amateur radio antennas disconnected from radios and electrically grounded.
*store heat sensitive candles at daughter’s house.
*new batteries in all smoke detectors
*AC set at 90 degrees

Outside home:

*turn water off to house but leave on for sprinkler system.
*new battery in sprinkler timer (in case electricity fails).
*make arrangements with neighbor to remove door hangers.
*forward all mail to daughter’s home.
*have lawn service keep front weeded (normally my job).
*have family member check on house, inside & out, every 2 weeks.

Even though some sources suggested unhooking the car battery from the vehicle left at home, I did not. When we returned it started right up. If gone for a longer period, it might be a good idea to run fuel additive through the car and unhook the battery cables.

One possibility that Betty and I discussed before we left: if we came home to find the TV, computers, or whatever, stolen, we would not let that sour us on the idea of leaving for long trips. We realize we could be robbed if we are gone for a few hours to a movie. The fear of losing some possessions was not going to keep us from enjoying the experiences that awaited us on the road.

Welcome home!

The outcome? When we returned there was not a single problem and nothing missing. The water in the toilet tank had not completely evaporated but I felt more comfortable with the plastic wrap keeping anything outside. Everything powered back up, the refrigerator started making new ice within a few hours, and the lights on timers still worked.

We had hot water in 45 minutes and the house cooled down to our normal 79-80 degrees within 4 hours. The lawn looked great, all the plants on drips were alive and the front yard was weed-free.

The list (and trip) was a success.

By Bob Lowry


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