RISMEDIA, July 18, 2007—Imagine coming home from your dream vacation only to find out your washing machine has been leaking for days, or that a storm caused a tree limb to break through the bedroom window.
As homeowners are preparing themselves for vacation, they may be forgetting one important step — preparing their homes to be unoccupied.
“A home and all of the memories in it is the single largest investment people make,” said Bill Windsor, Nationwide’s vice president of safety. “You need to take extra precautions when you’re leaving for several days or more.”
The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), a national nonprofit organization funded by the insurance industry, including Nationwide Insurance, offers these tips to help you prepare your home:
- Adjust the thermostat — High temperatures and humidity can damage furniture and other items. To control the climate in your home, set the thermostat to no higher than 85 degrees.
- Protect plumbing — If you’re leaving for an extended period, consider shutting off the water, and draining all water lines; have a professional plumber help. If you won’t be gone long, or you decide to leave the water service turned on, take additional steps including turning off the water supply to appliances such as the washing machine, and toilets and sinks.
- Plan for high wind — Protect your home from severe weather. Trim dead limbs from trees and shrubbery, and store outdoor furniture and other items indoors. Make sure all doors, windows and vents are closed and locked to keep out wind and rain.
- Make your home looked lived in — Deter thieves and vandals by making your home appear occupied. Stop newspaper and mail delivery, use timers on indoor and outdoor lights, install tapered deadbolt locks on doors, and have someone mow the lawn.
“A few simple steps such as these don’t take a lot of time or effort and are well worth it,” said Wendy Rose of IBHS. “Whether you’re gone for a few days or a few weeks, it’s important to take the time before you leave to make sure your house is in order.”
For more information, visit http://www.disastersafety.org.
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