Prevent Sink Overflows: 6 Things You Should Check Before Leaving for the Holidays
More than two-thirds of Americans will leave their homes and travel to visit loved ones for the holiday season. Are you one of them? If you’re heading out for Christmas, you’ll want to ensure that your home is safe from sink overflows, damage, and intruders. Houses are like kids or pets, and it’s never a good idea to leave them alone for long. But there are several steps you can take to mitigate the risk of fire and water damage to your property. When you return, you can stop holding your breath and finally loosen your belt after devouring the pumpkin pie and second, third, or fourth helpings of mashed potatoes.
Preparing Your Home for a Holiday Getaway
For most people who own their homes, their house was probably the most expensive thing they’ve ever purchased. If you’re like most, then you’ll want to do everything you can to protect that investment. When most people leave for a vacation or holiday excursion, they do a lot of prep work for the traveling itself - getting the best deal on plane tickets, packing their bags, and ensuring their pets are taken care of while they’re away. It’s easy to overlook the critical task of preparing the house for your time away. Here are the top four things you should do to keep your home in pristine condition while you’re gone.
1. Deter Break-ins
Every thirteen seconds in the U.S., a burglary is committed. Police are only able to solve 13% of all reported burglaries, usually because there is no eyewitness to the crime. The majority of burglaries are home break-ins.
One thing that makes a home attractive to a would-be burglar? If the home appears unoccupied. Bonus points if the house is kept dark, especially the outside. If the exterior of the home is dark and shadowy at night, it’s much easier for a burglar to break in. Fortunately, deterring burglars and making your home an unattractive target for crime is pretty easy. Make the criminal think someone is home.
Before you head out for the holidays, invest in a few sets of timers to make it look like you're home. Get timers for the television, the bedroom lamps, and lights inside and outside the house. These devices can be programmed to turn the TV and lights on and off at certain times. Activate motion detectors. Consider trimming back shrubs and bushes, so there isn’t any cover for a burglar to try and discretely slip in through a window.
Another tactic is to leave a radio playing, tuned to a talk station while you’re away. If someone were to case the joint, they’re likely to hear the radio playing and think people are inside talking. These tactics will lower your risk of being robbed and having the windows or doors damaged from a would-be burglar trying to get inside.
2. Prevent Water Damage and Sink Overflows
Here at SERVPRO Richardson, we’ve seen our fair share of sink overflows and other forms of water damage. Some of the worst damage occurs when people are away from home on a vacation or holiday getaway to visit friends and family. Water is allowed to flow freely and wreak all kinds of havoc when people aren’t around to stop it.
Here’s what you can do to prevent water damage and sink overflows from occurring while you’re out of the house:
- First, turn off the water main in your house right before you leave.
- Be sure to drain all of the pipes in the home next.
- Flush the toilets, and turn on the faucets until the water stops flowing.
It also pays to turn your water heater down to the “vacation” setting. What’s the point of heating water for a nice hot bath or shower when no one is home to enjoy it? Save money on your utilities and protect your house from water damage with these tips.
3. No Pets? Keep it Cool
Pet-free homeowners can save even more on their utilities when they head out for the holidays. There’s no point in keeping the home heated like someone is living there while you're away. Before you leave, remember to turn down the thermostat to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that nothing freezes in the home, but it’s still cold enough to give your furnace and electric bill a break. Don’t have a smart thermostat? Remember this tip by setting an alarm or reminder on your phone before you leave.
4. Unplug Electronics
There’s no point in having certain electronics plugged in while you’re away. Many appliances and electronics are “vampire” appliances that use energy even when you’re not actively using them. Toasters, computers, coffee makers, and washers and dryers can all be unplugged to save energy while you're gone.
5. Arrange for Mail Pickup, Snow and Ice Removal
It doesn’t matter if you do everything else on this checklist. Nothing screams to a burglar “no one is home” like a house covered in snow on the walkway, porches, and driveway. A pile of mail on the porch also tells a burglar the place is empty. If you live in town, you may need to arrange for someone to put salt or de-icer on your part of the sidewalk, so pedestrians don’t fall and hurt themselves while you’re gone. Make sure you arrange for mail pickup, snow and ice removal to keep other people, and your home, safe from catastrophe.
6. Final Walkthrough
Right before you leave, do a final walkthrough. Check and make sure all windows and all back doors are locked before heading out. And remember to unplug all non-essential electronics and appliances.
Leaving for the Holidays: A Takeaway Message
Keeping your home protected while you’re away visiting loved ones for the holiday festivities doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. With these tips in mind, you can prevent water damage and sink overflows, a high electric bill, or a broken-into home from greeting you when you return.
If your sink has overflown and your house has been damaged from moisture and mildew, contact us at (972) 690-1414 at SERVPRO Richardson today or follow these water damage removal tips. We'll restore your home to its original condition quickly and affordably.