‘Tis the season of family and friends which may mean a significant amount of traveling. If you plan on heading over the river and through the woods, you may want to take some precautions to help ensure you don’t come home to an unwelcomed surprise.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Get your furnace serviced. This is especially important if you’ll be away from the house during this time of year. Should the furnace go out and the temperatures are below freezing for any amount of time you’ll risk broken pipes. Broken pipes can range from being an annoying drip and repair to requiring extensive clean-up, drywall repair, flooring replacement, and an insurance claim. Have you ever seen pictures on social media of frozen waterfalls suspended from a kitchen ceiling? Don’t be that guy…
It’s also a good idea to turn off the water supply to your washing machine and disconnect the hoses. This is especially true if your laundry is located on the second floor. Murphy’s law says if the hose connections are ever going to have a leak it’ll be while you’re out of town, right? Having a drip pan underneath is helpful for a small leak, but futile should a hose come completely undone and the water is on.
If you want to take the water precaution one step further, turn it off at the main. Especially if you’re going to be gone for more than a week, better safe than sorry. Going as far as having the house fully winterized may not be necessary, but at the least shut the main off and drain your lines by opening your faucets.
Speaking of turning off, unplug all your electronics. Televisions, computers, smart speakers, chargers, etc are continuously drawing current. Unplugging them is a simple step to help prevent a fire and as an added plus, saves energy.
Remember the 90’s classic ‘Home Alone’? Put timers on your lights. Whether you’re rural or urban, giving the appearance of someone being home will, as my dad puts it, keep honest people honest. If you have someone to stop by every other day or so that’s never a bad idea. It’s always good to have eyes on things even with all the precautions you took.
With all these preventive measures you’re one step ahead of risk but, just in case, call your insurance agent. Now is not the time to have your policy lapse. Make sure your policy is up to date and there haven’t been any changes. While you’re on the phone it may be a good time to review your policy if it’s been awhile to ensure, so to speak, you have adequate dwelling and personal property coverage.
I hope these tips are useful and will help ease your mind so you can relax and enjoy yourself. Remember, if there’s a topic you’d like me to talk about in this column don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m happy to shine some light on whatever real estate questions you may have. Take care, enjoy your week, and tell Grandma I said hi!