Leaving Home for Winter Vacation

While we who live in Iowa know the many reasons that we love it here, we also understand that the cold Winter temperatures often leave residents in Northern states seeking short term escapes to warmer climates. Some of our residents escape for days, some for weeks, and some for the entire Winter season! Airplane wing

I mean- we can only take so much, right? Winter can be l o n g! While you and your spouse are making plans for a week on a beach in February, don’t forget to also make plans for your home while you’re away. Returning from a wonderful vacation only to discover a dirty or damaged house, or one with foul smells, fruit flies, or rodents is not something anyone wants to do.

Here’s a simple checklist I’ve put together so you can return home from your Winter vacation as happy as the day that you left:

• Make sure your doors and windows are all locked and outdoor furnishings are secured. Strong Winter winds can blow your unlocked doors open and your patio furniture down the street!

• Adjust or program your thermostat to vacation mode or a cooler temperature when you’re away. 55 degrees should be the minimum. Be sure to program the furnace to a warmer temperature the day before you return so the home has a chance to heat

• Lower your risk of fires by unplugging small appliances and electrical items such as TVs, stereos, computers, routers, phone chargers, microwaves, toasters, coffee pots, etc..

• If you have a gas-powered furnace, make sure your fuel tank has plenty of gas. If your furnace stops working while you’re away, you’re likely to have more problems than just the indoor temperature!

• Deter potential burglars by programming a timer to turn different lights on in your home at different times. Arrange for your mail to be held at the post office and close your curtains so no one can see inside.

• Check the dishwasher and sink for any forgotten dishes and check your washer/dryer for wet clothes

• Arrange for a trusted friend to handle snow removal, check on the house, water the plants, and- if the water has not been shut off- run water down all the drains to prevent dry traps

• Empty the refrigerator of any food or milk that will spoil while you’re away and dispose of any fruit that might be sitting out.

• Clean counters, sinks, and toilets and take out all of the trash!