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Tips to plan for Extended Absences

Whether for a vacation, business travel, or other reasons, nearly all of us occasionally leave our homes for days or weeks at a time. With some preparation, such absences can be managed uneventfully. Keep these guidelines in mind and add additional reminders that are appropriate to your situation.

Plan in Advance

● Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on the property. If possible, provide them with a way to reach you while you are away.

● If you will be gone an especially long time (more than two weeks) consider a house sitter.

● Arrange for someone to mow the lawn or shovel snow.

● Stop mail, newspapers, and other deliveries.

● Use lighting timers (available at hardware stores for $10 to $20).

● Confirm that all insurance policies that cover your property and belongings are current and provide sufficient coverage.

● Mark valuable items with identifying information. Consider whether you have irreplaceable items that should be stored in a bank vault or security box.

As You Leave

● Unplug computers and other electronic devices that might be harmed in an electrical storm.

● Leave window coverings in their most typical positions.

● Confirm that all doors and windows are locked and the deadbolts are engaged.

● Shut off the main water supply. Set the thermostat on the water heater to “vacation” to save energy.

● Store items such as your lawn mower, bicycles, or ladders in the garage.

● Water plants and take out the trash

● Disengage the garage door opener (pull on the rope that hangs from the mechanism). Use the manufacturer’s lock to bolt the overhead door. Caution: Attempting to operate the garage door opener when the manufacturer’s lock is bolted will burn out the motor of your opener. Upon your return, unlock the garage door first, then re-engage the motor (simply push the button to operate the opener and it will reconnect) to restore normal operation.

● Leave a second car in the driveway.

● In summer, turn your air-conditioner fan to on. Set the thermostat on 78.

● In winter, set the thermostat to a minimum of 55 degrees. Leave doors on cabinets that contain plumbing lines open. Leave room doors open as well. The open doors allow heat to circulate.

● Arm your security system, if applicable.

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