I love living in Vernon, BC year round, but there is something to be said for heading south to enjoy the warmth and sun in the winter months. Many people buy real estate in the Okanagan because it has one of the best climates in Cananda. But just in case you are craving a little extra sun, and plan to leave your home during the holidays, here are some things to remember to do before you leave. Follow these tips to keep your home safe and save a few bucks on bills while you’re gone.
1. Put mail on hold
An overstuffed mailbox or a pile of newspapers at the bottom of your driveway can be an invitation to thieves. Not only is it a sign that no one’s home, identity thieves can find all sorts of goodies while sorting through unattended mail. Go to canadapost.ca to have the Postal Service hold your mail, and also check on your options for holding newspaper delivery.
It makes it appear that someone is home. If you can, switch your exterior lights to the “motion-activated” setting.
Make sure the batteries are fresh in your smoke alarms and that they function.
Hiding your jewelry is always an option, but when you’re gone for several days, thieves have more time to hunt through the house. If you can, place jewelry and important documents in a safety deposit box or home safe.
Bring inside any keys that are hidden outside. You can give one to a neighbor along with your contact information where you'll be, just in case there's an emergency.
Your electronics will still suck energy while you’re gone. Unplug the biggies, like your TV and computer.
At least until you return, when it’s safe to make your Facebook friends jealous with photos from your holiday beach vacation. Don’t post the dates when you’re leaving your house vacant.
It won’t turn off completely, but it will still save energy.
Keep it warm enough to prevent the pipes – and the goldfish – from freezing. Your energy company can recommend a temperature that’s appropriate for your climate.
To avoid returning to a kitchen disposal that belches up the stench of your pre-vacation dinner, run it with a half-cup of vinegar, or lemon peels and ice cubes, before you leave. To keep things smelling fresh, it’s also a good idea to throw out any food that will go bad while you’re gone and make sure to take out any trash.
Dump half a cup of chlorine bleach into your toilet bowl to prevent mineral stains from developing.