Last year, not everyone was able to meet up with family for Christmas or other winter holidays. With family reunions and travel possible again, a lot of people are planning a winter holiday. You might be going to spend Christmas with your parents, or maybe you’re planning a skiing holiday or a trip to somewhere with a warmer climate. Whatever your plans are, it’s a good idea to do some things around your home before you leave. Leaving your home empty in the middle of winter could lead to some problems if you’re not careful. Before you go, do these things.
Automate Your Lights
If you’re not at home, other people can often tell that you’re not there. There’s no car in the driveway, the lights never come on, and no one is coming and going. It’s possible that burglars could notice this and decide it’s the perfect time to break into your home. One of the ways you could address this problem is by turning your attention to your lights. You could leave them on all the time, but that can waste electricity and still shows that there’s no one home. Alternatively, use smart technology to automate your lights so they come on for a few hours in the evening.
Other security issues can be a concern during the winter too, especially if you’re leaving your home to go away for a while. Before you go, you can think about various security problems that you might be able to solve. Of course, ensuring your windows and doors can all be securely locked is important. It’s also a good idea to have a security alarm and perhaps even security cameras. Smart security cameras can alert you of any movement that’s picked up, so you know if anyone is in your home, even if you’re not there.
Get Someone to Check on the House
Having someone drop by your home while you’re away can be helpful. It shows that there is someone watching over your home and it also means you can have a few tasks taken care of. They can pick up your post for you, put your bins out on the right day, and even open and close curtains or turn lights on and off for you. You could ask a neighbour or friend to do this or you could pay someone to do it for you. It’s something that should only take a few minutes each day.
Arrange Pet Care
If you have pets and they’re not travelling with you, you need to make arrangements for their care when you’re away. Your pets could stay home while someone comes to them or your pets could have their own holiday and stay somewhere else. A pet sitter in your home, who either stays there or drops in every day, can be a good choice for nervous pets or those who like to be in a familiar environment (especially cats). But some pets might enjoy staying at a kennel or cattery or going to stay at someone else’s house, whether it’s a friend or a professional pet sitter.
Check Your Heating
Putting the heating on while you’re away can be a good idea to help keep your home warm. If you have pets at home, it also ensures they’re not in a cold house. In particularly cold weather, it can help to protect against frozen pipes. You can programme your boiler to come on for a few hours a day and heat your home. But before you go away, you should consider booking boiler servicing to get your boiler checked out. You don’t want to return home to find that something has happened and you no longer have any heating or hot water.
Unplugging as many appliances and electronics as you can is a smart idea if you want to protect your home. It helps to save energy and it can also reduce the likelihood of an electric fire occurring. Some appliances, such as your fridge and freezer, may need to remain plugged in. However, many things can be unplugged. So before you leave, make sure you walk around your home and unplug anything that doesn’t need to remain plugged in.
Clean Your Home
It’s always better to return to a clean home when you’ve been away. It’s something that you might never have understood as a child but that you totally get as an adult. No one wants to get home and have to start tidying and cleaning. Getting to just sit down and have a cup of tea and later get into a bed with clean sheets is much better. Even if it’s just a quick clean, try to leave your home tidy before going away.
Check Your Home Insurance
Your home insurance is there to protect your home and your finances. But it can only protect you if it’s valid and covers the issue that you’re having. If you’re about to go away during the winter, it’s a good idea to check on your home insurance policy. Firstly, make sure it hasn’t expired and renew it if it needs to be renewed. Secondly, check that you understand what your home insurance covers and what your responsibilities are. You may need to inform your insurance provider that you are leaving the property empty.
Think About Bills
If there are any bills that are due while you’re away, it could be a good idea to pay for them before you leave. While you might be able to make payments while you’re away, it’s easy to get caught up in doing other things. If you usually pay your bills manually, check what’s due before you leave. Automating your payments with a direct debit can be an easier way of making sure that your bills are paid, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Before you go away this winter, take care of everything at home to ensure it’s all in order and ready for you when you get back.