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Old 05-21-2014, 08:33 AM   #1
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Closing up house for summer

We've always hired a house sitter before when traveling but this summer we plan to just close up our Phoenix home for the summer. I'm trying to get some ideas for what we may be missing. I know many people here are very experienced in this. We live in a suburban Cul-de-sac.

We arranged with the excellent neighbors on either side to keep an eye out for the unexpected.

Arranged for mail pick up and forwarding of important items.

Installed an alarm system with police notification.

Landscape plants are self watering, potted plants we decided to sacrifice.

Any other items I should be making adjustments for.
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:39 AM   #2
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Turn off the water for starters.
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:46 AM   #3
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We leave our AC set for 77. Our neighbor does a walk through each week to look around and make sure the AC is running. We also have a free service from our local Police where they come by each day and walk around the house. Living in Fl , we shutter the house as well.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clifftall View Post
We leave our AC set for 77. Our neighbor does a walk through each week to look around and make sure the AC is running. We also have a free service from our local Police where they come by each day and walk around the house. Living in Fl , we shutter the house as well.

Wow, we don't have it set at 77 when we are living in it! ;-) I get the idea though. We had planned on setting it to 90. That is what we have our MH set to in the driveway. Protects against the 110 degree summers here. Last year we didn't cool the MH and some of the laminate in the bathroom debonded.

I hadn't thought about the water other than turning off the water heater. Thanks.

I don't know about contacting the local PD. My concern would be that a daily walk around would attract too much attention from the teens in the neighborhood, even if the police were willing to do it. I'm using a couple of random light timers to give some impression of activity.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #5
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~ turn off main water valve. Or if you need the water supply for outdoor watering, turn off at least the washing machine.

~ One or two light timers. Get the ones that you can have turn on and off each hour. Alternate them to look like you are going room to room.

~ Inside walk thru once a week by a family member or neighbor.

~ Have neighbor park his car or if he is having a party use your driveway to make it look like there is at least some activity.

~ When my parents leave for the winter, I'll flush the toilets once a month so lime scale doesn't build up in the toilet bowl.

~ If your garage has windows, cover up any tool boxes, lawn mowers prying eyes might see.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:56 AM   #6
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Turn off the house water. Ask me how I know.

Our watering system for the yard is before the house shutoff so it still works to water the landscape.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:07 AM   #7
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In addition to all the above:

Since you're sacrificing your outdoor potted plants, make sure either you (before you leave) or your neighbors dispose of them. Nothing says "I'm not home" like dead potted plants.

Turn off faucets to w/d, lower hot water heater thermostat & raise icemaker arm (better yet, shut it off) if you have one in your refrigerator's freezer.

If you have outside porch/garage lights, get dusk-to-dawn photocells you screw into the sockets (find 'em at Lowe's, HD), screw the bulbs in those, then leave the outside light switch on.

If no one will be inside your home, leave the toilet seats up so you don't come home to mold inside the bowls.

Disconnect any garage door openers & slide the locks into the rails (we unplug ours from the ceiling).

Remove any garage door openers from your vehicles & conceal them.

Remove & conceal any keys you have hanging on hooks on your walls.

Leave your cell phone numbers with your trusted neighbors, in case of emergency.

Lori-
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:22 AM   #8
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In your climate, I would cover the toilet bowls with saran-wrap to prevent the water trap from drying up and allowing sewer gas into the house. For other drains that cannot be covered like that, pour a 1/2 cup of mineral oil into the trap to reduce evaporation and the same sewer gas backup. I shut off our propane tank valve to prevent any possibility of something going wrong and our house exploding or burning.
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:54 PM   #9
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Some really great ideas. Nothing speaks as clearly as the voice of experience.

I really like the idea of having the neighbor park in our drive at times, since we are planning on locking our truck behind the RV gate.

I'm not sure if the irrigation can be left on if the house is off, but I've got four days to figure it out.

Tomorrow is the last day of school and so our "Freedom Summer Trip" begins Sunday. 9 weeks and 4400 miles. It will give us some idea how realistic our dream of full timing will be.

I'm still eagerly listening to any other ideas you'd like to share.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:19 PM   #10
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I use RV anti freeze in the toilets and drains (it evaporates slower than water) temp set @ 55 for summer home, AC @ 85 for winter home. Security system armed, random lights, and the neighbors plows the driveway and cut the grass. Stop the mail and paper. Phone is transferred to cell.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:45 PM   #11
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A/C Setting: Here in FL you must keep A/C running to dehumidify and prevent mildew. I leave min on 80 degrees. In AZ, no humidity so you should be fine on 90 degrees.
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