A home is a significant investment for many people, and maintaining it is a must even when planning a vacation. At home maintenance can be daunting, especially for a new homeowner. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A pre-vacation maintenance checklist will help you maintain your home, whether you plan a month-long vacation or a small weekend getaway.
At home maintenance, while planning to travel entails protecting your home and ensuring that your appliances are working properly while you are away. Before leaving for any vacation, use this checklist to ensure your home is in good condition when you return.
Check Your Heating Oil Levels
Your home must have enough heating oil in the tank to keep it warm as the weather gets colder. You should monitor the oil level regularly to prevent it from running dangerously low. You can check the heating oil level using the oil tank gauge or manually inspect it with a gauge stick.
Typically, a residential heating oil tank can hold 275 gallons. The oil gauge doesn’t measure how much oil is inside the tank but what percentage of the heating oil tank is full. Part of at home maintenance before traveling is ensuring that your heating oil level is okay.
Your oil tank gauge should work adequately to determine the correct oil level. You can quickly notice a malfunctioning oil gauge when you are more familiar with the oil tank gauge. You should also know how to read and interpret the readings on the indicator.
Once you suspect your oil gauge is broken, you should contact your heating oil company for a replacement. A broken gauge is a hazard to your home, wallet, and the environment.
The gauge sits inside the oil tank and displays the level of oil inside the tank and not the number of gallons. You need to do a manual gauge reading or an electronic gauge to determine the exact amount of oil. Though some gauges use different measuring methods, most use eighth-inch or quarter-inch increments.
During winter, expect to burn more heating oil. The oil gauge does not provide the exact measurement; hence you should make sure the indicator doesn’t go below a quarter inch.
Ensure All Appliances Are Functioning Correctly
One essential at home maintenance tip when traveling is to identify what appliances to leave on and what to switch off. Properly preparing your home to be empty increases the chances of finding it in the same condition as you left it. It might also save you from appliance repairs.
The freezer and refrigerator are the major appliances that should remain plugged in and working during your vacation. These two appliances help to keep your food safe and fresh, and your food mustn’t go bad when you are away. However, you also need to prevent the odor of spoilt food. Make sure you get rid of leftovers, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy products.
You should also shut off and unplug all small appliances that will not be in use while you are away. Unplugging such appliances will help keep the energy bill low because they may still consume energy while turned off.
The golden rule of thumb is to turn off and unplug all small appliances with an LED light or a digital clock. Unplug devices like coffeemakers, chargers, microwaves, toasters, TVs, fans, and lamps. However, you should not unplug large appliances like the oven and dishwasher.
Make sure to check your washer and dryer to avoid returning to moldy clothes in the washer or dryer.
Set your thermostat to a money-saving temperature. You can turn the AC off if you don’t plan on having someone stay in your home while you are away. However, you need to keep a comfortable temperature if you expect a house or pet sitter for your dog.
Check Your Windows Security
Make sure you check all entry points around the home before you leave. Make sure all seldom-used windows and doors are locked. You can easily forget to lock a rarely-used side door, which would be the first place for an intruder to check.
Consider window replacements if you have any broken or cracked windows. Close all the blinds and curtains before leaving. Intruders first peep through the windows to check for anything valuable before breaking in.
Putting lights on timers is another at home maintenance tip for preventing break-ins while on vacation. Smart bulbs and outlet timers allow you to do this. Most burglaries happen when the house is empty. Make sure that your home looks occupied when you are on holiday.
Technology allows you to control your lights remotely. A different schedule each day while on vacation simulates someone being home. To be more convincing, you can schedule your radio or TV to be on for a few hours during the night.
Instant cameras can also help enhance your home’s security while you are away. You can monitor your home from your tablet or smartphone. Cameras integrated with sound and motion sensors will alert you when something happens. You can easily keep tabs on your house even when you are traveling.
Most homes are equipped with alarm systems. Another essential at home maintenance tip while traveling is ensuring that all security alarms, as well as smoke and fire sensors, are in good condition. If you are unsure whether your security system is working, get a qualified technician to check it out.
Find Care for Your Pets
Preparing for a vacation doesn’t mean you should forget about your pet. If you cannot take it with you, ensure it stays happy and safe while you are away.
Consider leaving your pet in good hands. Though some pets are independent, someone must keep an eye on them while you are away. Even the most self-sufficient pets get lonely and stressed when you are not around.
A daily check-up is vital in case something like an injury or accident happens. Have a few options to make sure your pet is okay while you are gone.
Having a pet sitter who stays over or comes by your house is ideal. Your pet will be more comfortable in its own environment. Anybody with experience caring for pets can make a perfect pet sitter.
Inform the sitter of your pet’s needs and provide essentials such as food and medicine. Give them contacts to animal emergency clinics in case something happens.
If you can’t find a pet sitter, you can consider boarding. Though it can be costly, boarding is an excellent option for pets on scheduled medication or those that need special attention.
Ensuring that your pet does not destroy anything by scratching or chewing while you are away is an essential at home maintenance tip. Pets prone to anxiety can ruin items, and boarding is the option.
If you are leaving your pet home, provide a few easy-to-access water and food stations. In addition, stock up on treats, food, and other essentials for your pet sitter. Let them know the feeding schedule and request them to stick to it. Changes in a pet’s routine can stress it. Automated water and food bowls are excellent for maintaining drinking and feeding schedules.
Visit Your Doctor
A physical exam by your physician prior to traveling can help you avoid minor illnesses which may spoil or inconvenience your trip. More importantly, it can help deter life-threatening diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, or malaria.
One of the key reasons for visiting your doctor while planning your travel is to get vaccinated. Such vaccinations help in preventing infections and illnesses while on vacation. They allow you to enjoy the time away. Depending on where you travel, you will receive several immunizations to protect you on your vacation.
Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat illnesses specific to your destination. You will also get prescriptions for common diseases for general travel. Such medicine can treat malaria, diarrhea, motion sickness, and other common issues for travelers.
You will also need water and food safety education while on your trip. A travel medicine expert or doctor can provide information on your destination’s water habits and safe food.
All travelers are not equal, and you may have unique safety and health concerns. If you are an older adult, have a weak immune system, or are pregnant, you may require additional or different immunizations to ensure your safety. Your doctor will provide specific health care advice for your needs.
Your doctor is also the most appropriate professional to discuss safe travel habits because they understand your medical history and will offer specifics about your safe travel. You should adhere to practices that minimize risks and maximize your enjoyment.
Visit Your Dentist
When you are on your trip, you will likely pose for a quick picture to remind you of your vacation. You wouldn’t want your teeth to ruin that perfect moment. A visit to the dental office will help prevent that. Orthodontics provides various solutions to help your smile look better. Furthermore, they align crooked teeth, remove stains from teeth, and correct imperfect teeth.
You would also want to prevent dental emergencies while on vacation. Toothaches, loose restorations, and dental injuries are stressful to manage, even at home. They become even more anxiety-inducing when you are away.
But visiting your dentist before traveling can prevent this from happening. Dentists can examine your teeth, screen for potential problems, and address the issue before you travel.
Dentists may offer crucial advice on protecting your teeth from vacation treats. Vacation is the perfect time to enjoy mouth-watering foods and drinks, from fizzy sodas and lemonades to sugary ice cream and buttery popcorn.
Unfortunately, most of these delicious treats are not teeth-friendly. Your dentist will educate you on preventing a severe oral issue, such as a cavity or cracked tooth. They will advise you on what to eat and stay away from. Visiting the dental office can play an essential role in whether your travel plans involve scheduling an emergency dental visit or relaxing and enjoying.
Research Places to Eat at your Destination
Eating is integral to any travel experience, just like visiting historical landmarks and museums. In fact, food may provide you with the best travel memories.
Researching places to eat is an essential part of planning your vacation. Food is part of the culture and is one of the best ways to understand and enjoy a different culture. However, most people spend their vacation around other tourists and dine in the best restaurant, which offers what you would most likely eat in your home town.
There is a strong link between food and culture. Local food gives you an opportunity to learn about a country’s history, societal norms, and traditions. For most communities, food is vital in preserving cultural identity.
Ingredients, cooking techniques, and recipes are passed from one generation to the next. If you are a food tourist, it is essential to research local restaurants that serve local cuisine.
Some local restaurants specialize in particular dishes based on historical factors, local availability, and traditions. Others avoid certain foods because of religious beliefs.
Another benefit of eating local when you travel is it tastes better and is fresher. Vegetables and fruits that have traveled halfway around the world on a truck won’t taste like those harvested locally just a few days before. Though it is difficult to determine which foods are grown locally, purchasing from local restaurants and markets is a good place to start.
At home maintenance is an essential part of planning your vacation. In addition to ensuring the safety of your home while you travel, you will also find your appliances in good condition when you return.
Your pet should be part of your travel plan. You need to make sure it is okay and provide all the essentials if you cannot take it with you.
Your health determines whether you will enjoy your trip or not. Visit your doctor and dentist before traveling for check-ups and advice before leaving.