6 Ways to Avoid Post-Holiday Travel Surprises at Home
The holidays call for time spent with family, near and far. When it’s your turn to hit the road for a holiday trip, the last thing you want to do is come back home to a mess. That said, a little planning can go a long way toward a happy homecoming. Beyond the usual tips (stop your mail, put outdoor lights on a timer, etc.) there are several things you can do to help avoid a crisis while you’re away.
Holiday Travel Tip #1: Turn off the water inside
Switch off your home’s water at the main shut-off valve before you leave. This will prevent you from arriving home to puddles of leaks around the house. If you have a neighbor stopping by to water indoor plants while you’re away, just shut off the valves to the most common potential sources of water damage (dishwashers, icemakers and washing machines). That will protect your home in the event that a hose cracks or breaks.
Holiday Travel Tip #2: Clear the gutters
Homeowners tend to forget about their gutters during the coldest months of the year. But, the truth is that that’s when they are most likely to be clogged with leaves and debris from autumn leaves falling and precipitation, whether rain, snow or ice. Once they’re clear, be sure the downspouts work properly to direct water away from your home’s foundation, where expensive problems can happen.
Holiday Travel Tip #3: Turn off outdoor faucets
During the coldest months of the year, outdoor faucets can freeze and burst. It’s a good idea to close the supply shutoff valve inside the house before you leave, even if you have a frost-proof faucet. Once you do this, it’s important to go outside and turn on the faucets to drain any remaining water from the pipes. Be sure to disconnect hoses and store them in a dry place.
Holiday Travel Tip #4: Rinse the garbage disposal
Garbage disposals do away with a lot of food scraps that can create an unpleasant odor in your sink. Before you leave for your trip, run cool water and give the disposal a quick run to be sure no scraps are left inside. If you’re still concerned, follow our 5-step guide to eliminate potential odors.
Holiday Travel Tip #5: Wipe out
Dishwashers and washing machines can harbor stale water which could result in you returning home to a sewer smell. To avoid this unpleasant experience, check to make sure you haven’t left dirty dishes in the dishwasher, or clothing in the washing machine. Wipe down the inside of each with a clean, dry towel and leave the doors slightly ajar to let air circulate.
Holiday Travel Tip #6: Bleach it
Shut off the water supply to each toilet in the house and flush to empty the tank. Add a few tablespoons of bleach to a bucket of hot water and pour down your shower and floor drains to keep them clean and clear of odors.
Looking for more tips to avoiding post-vacation stress? Check out our handy pre-vacation checklist. Coming home to a clean, well-kept house is a great way to end your holiday vacation. If you’re worried about drain odors, slow drains or a potential leak, schedule a drain inspection. That way you can rule out any serious issues – or get them to be taken care of – before you leave town.
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