Home checklist for extended travel?

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We will be embarking on a three-month trip this summer, leaving my home vacant during those months. I had a couple of questions on readying the home for our absence.
I've read some websites that said you should turn the hot water heater off (by this I assume they mean shut off the gas, thereby extinguishing the pilot), others that said to just turn it down to the lowest setting. Any pros/cons for doing one, but not the other? The "setting it to the lowest setting" option sounds best to me because to relight the pilot you have to take apart the front contraption and all, and I am not the most handy person <g>.
I was planning on shutting off the water (there's a valve outside where the waterline comes in), as well as turning off the power at the fuse box. Any reason for not taking these two steps?
Thanks!
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Scott Mitchell wrote:

Turn the water heater to pilot, turn off the water. Put stoppers in the kitchen sinks and close the stoppers in the other sinks to slow the drying of the P-traps. Empty the fridge, make sure the ice maker is in the off position. Unplug the water softener and anything else that might run unattended while away.
Happy travels, Rich
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For 3 months why risk anything, turn off gas and water at mains.
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get someone to cut grass, pickup stuff in yard, and give the house a lived in look. have them make a outgoing call now and then to show the house isnt vacant.and check things move shades drapes etc. animals can get in and make a mess, having a trusted friend or neighbor do a walk thru is really important
a completely vacant home is at great risk of being broken in or set on fire. insurance can ds own you if a disaster occurs
a security system that calls the police is probably a good idea, at least put up signs now saying protected by XXX security.
do turn off water and gas, leave power on with some lights and perhaps a radio on timers
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Your insurance company may be upset if you are away for more than a month, if it is a permanent resident. That being said, consider the following:
Turn off water, and power to hot water heater, stove, dryer, major appliances except for refrigerator.
Remove any perishables from refrigerator, in case you have a prolonged power outage.
Arrange for mail forwarding (1 month max, for holding mail - USPS regs.)
Get the lawn mowed, and make sure they do a nice job of it.
If winter, drain hot water heater, after turning power off (quick heat systems will self-destruct if no water in tank). Work as much water out of traps in commodes as possible, and put in some anti-freeze. Ditto with sink drains.
If at all possible, get a friend to check up on the place periodically.
Check your answering machine from time to time, and remove any messages. Don't have a message that says "I'm out of town, or on vacation."
Lights on a timer are said to be a good idea, but no experience there. Make sure that valuables, firearms, etc., are secure and well out of sight.
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wrote:

Avoid Anti-Freeze!!
Instead use vegetable oil in p-traps.
One tip I heard for the toilets was to cover the top of the bowl with saran-wrap to reduce evaporation. If you take the water out I suspect gases will enter the house.
-- Oren
"The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!"
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I second that. Few spoonfulls for sinks and some more to your toilet will do.

No need to do that. Just use vegetable oil ;)
One more thing. Have a neighbor or friend keep his car in your driveway from time to time.
Mika
---------------------------------------------- Haluatko lhett postia? Vaihda osoitteen eka (vai oliko se toka?) numero viisi numeroon kahdeksan... ----------------------------------------------
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A plumber once told me that if a house will be unoccuped for 6 months or more -- and yes I know the original poster won't be gone that long -- that it's wise to have someone flush the toilets and use the sinks periodically to prevent buildup of rust and corrosion. Does anyone know if that was good advice?
James
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On May 1, 4:27?pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

yeah the crud in sewer lines congeals and turns to rock when dried out too long. come time to put back in use the old crud causes stopped up lines. I have seen it myself:(
If you have any home sit for a extended period empty its a good idea to have the sewers snaked espically if the lines are terracota or cast iron.
If your home sits empty for over a month and has a disaster your homeowners company may disown you. Yoiu may be better off having someone stay at your home.
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wrote:

They are. I've set one to come on at dusk and to go off, say at midnight. Then one set in another room to come on a few hours before dawn - then off. A third one can turn a small radio on. I think is really helps to make the house seem lived in.
BTW, disconnect power to computer, monitor, etc. Check security of windows and sliding doors.
-- Oren
"The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!"
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On 30 Apr 2007 15:20:27 -0700, Scott Mitchell

It may depend on where you live. For example, I have no problems with freezing temperatures.
A few points to consider.
I turn off the hot water heater (electric) and switch off all lights bar one. I put a timer switch on a standard lamp to give passers by the impression that the house may be occupied occasionally. When I owned a house with a gas HWS some years ago I left the pilot light on but turned off the system. Re-lighting the pilot on some heaters can be a real PITA. I don't see a need to actually shut off the water, unless you are worrying about bursting pipes or leaks. Just remember that you're going to have to wait for about 45 minutes for a shower when you come home.
Empty every scrap of food out of your fridge and freezer if you can. Defrost them and leave the doors ajar. If that isn't possible then at least get rid of the perishable items in the fridge. You don't really want to come home to a green alien in the fridge and you won't know if there was a prolonged power failure causing all the frozen food to thaw and refreeze after spoiling. Also check on other perishables out of the fridge - potatoes, fruits etc.
Insurance varies from country to country and state to state. Check your insurance policy if you're going to be more than one day over three months. Mine requires someone to occupy the house at least for one night every 90 days or the insurance lapses. On my five-month trip I fixed this by letting it as a holiday rental for a couple of weeks; on my second trip, just over three months, I obtained a letter of approval from the insurance company. If they had not agreed, I had a relative on stand-by to spend a night.
I change my phone to allow only 000 outgoing calls (probably 911 to you) so that if someone is in the house (approved by you or otherwise) they can ring the fire brigade but not their relatives in Germany.
A few security points, maybe they don't apply to you. Arrange for mail re-direction and also for someone to clear junk mail and free newspapers, otherwise your mailbox or front yard will scream out "vacant" to all who pass. If you have a neighbour you trust, ask them to keep a friendly eye on the place but also let them know if you have given permission to a friend or relative to enter the place. We advise the local police of our planned absence and give then our contact details.
That's all I can think of for the moment.
Cheers, Alan, Australia -- http://loraltravel.blogspot.com / latest: Athens and The Adriatic http://loraldiabetes.blogspot.com /
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We don't have any problem with freezing temperatures either. We live in Southern California and will be traveling during the summer months.
We live in a condominium of seven units, and the neighboring units where you walk by others' front-doors/windows to get to the trash or to the street or to parking. So if something happens - a break-in, for instance - it would be noted rather quickly, I'd think. And we've let a couple of our trusted neighbors know of our trip and schedule and provided them with house and mail keys and contact information. Also, crime is very low in our neighborhood, mostly just stealing from cars parked on the street. (Our car will be in the garage the entire duration, which is part of the building and only accessible if you have a garage door opener.)

Thanks for the advice, I'll simple turn the setting to low.

Well, I guess my only concern was that what if a laundry hose springs a leak, or something. As aforementioned, temperatures will be in the 60s-80s throughout our trip, so freezing pipes is not an issue.

Agreed, we were planning on unplugging the fridge.

Good point, I didn't think of this or realize that this might be an issue. I'll talk to my insurance agent promptly.

Got these things arranged.
Thanks
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Just a word of advice ... check your policy, don't call the insurance company. I didn't know, and when I called about my inlaw's house that was going to be vacant for a time, they wanted to cancel the policy immediately, or charge some outrageous amount to cover a vacant house.
That could be one phone call you regret.
nancy
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On Tue, 1 May 2007 08:24:13 -0400, "Nancy Young"

I don't doubt it's possible. Didin't happen to me - but different state and different country.
I hope your next few calls were for quotes from other insurers to changeover to.
Cheers, Alan, Australia -- http://loraltravel.blogspot.com / latest: Athens and The Adriatic http://loraldiabetes.blogspot.com /
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The different country might be the key. I have all the insurance books, took all the tests, think I would have remembered the vacancy thing.

I convinced them to give some old people a break and not put it into the system.
nancy
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Alan S.:

Nancy Young:

Just a word of advice... don't try to trick your insurance company and think your coverage is still valid.
--
Mark Brader | "If communication becomes impossible, it is expected that
Toronto | both parties will... notify the other that communication
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Brader) wrote:

While I'd definitely agree with that advice, there is a difference between "tricking" the insurance company, and not calling for information.
As long as you do not violate the terms of your policy, you are not required to inform your insurance company of anything. However, any information you do provide them may be used against you when they evaluate your policy.
--
Just sit through this NRA meeting Marge, and if you still
don\'t think guns are great then we\'ll argue some more.
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I agree. Less is more and volunteering information is not a good idea in these matters. If you are within the parameters of your policy, there is no need for contrition...
As for the winter vacation sorts., other than to keep the pipes from freezing, why would one want to keep their house at 45 degrees..?
If you can winterize your plumbing, wouldn't that be a better option (less costly)...?
CP
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Nobody said anything about tricking. I said Read your policy, don't go calling them up and giving them an opening to cancel you or raise your rates with what you think is an innocent question.
nancy
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Nancy Young:

Mark Brader:

Nancy Young:

If they want to cancel the policy or "charge some outrageous amount", that would imply that you don't have coverage for the situation you're asking about. Unless of course *they're* trying to trick or cheat *you*, or their people are incompetent, in either of which cases you probably want to change insurers anyway.
--
Mark Brader | "...it\'s a characteristic ... of organizations that try
Toronto | to anticipate every possible failure: they easily
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