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Old 10-10-2022, 09:10 AM   #1
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House Care When Travelling

If this topic has been previously covered someone please direct me to the thread.

I retired at the end of this past April. Prior to retirement, our RV trips were limited to a few days or a week at most. Now that Iím retired, we want to take some longer trips but have no interest in becoming full timers.

My question is what arrangements do other part timers make for the care and maintenance of their homes when traveling for multiple weeks or months at a time?
I know we will have to arrange to have the lawn mowed, but what else should we be arranging?

Doug
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Old 10-10-2022, 09:42 AM   #2
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We’ve been doing what you’ve explained for nearly 20 years, sometimes leaving for as many as 4 months. We do this a couple of times each year.

Here are a few things that come to mind …

Turn off your water supply, water heater, etc. Fortunately our lawn irrigation system is plumbed to remain functional even when the house water is off.

Try to get various systems wireless so you can control some things from almost anywhere, example include lawn sprinkler controller, thermostat, surveillance cameras, internal lighting controls.

Bill paying can be moved to various methods, such as autopay and/or online banking. Setting up accounts to get email or text notifications helps considerably, or simply having an online account can let you see what you owe.

Arrange what you intend to do with your mail from the post office. We got to know our carrier such that putting on hold for more than 30 days is possible. Having a way to contact your carrier, either email or cell phone, helps. As far as any bills that might come in the mail, we’ve gone “wireless” for as many as possible.

Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANT, is we have an excellent neighbor next door that keeps an eye on things. In fact does an external walk around daily! That person is able to enter our house … not something that occurs regularly or often, but pretty handy if needed.

Hope this helps! Y’all have fun
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Old 10-10-2022, 09:50 AM   #3
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SeaTheUSA X2. Plus, turn off the refrigerator ice maker, also our daughter and son in law have a house key and code to alarm system.
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Old 10-10-2022, 05:42 PM   #4
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Not much of a concern in Amarillo but up north we worry about freezing. We plug in a thermostat controlled light that comes on at 39˚. Neighbors has keys and phone numbers to our HVAC guy.
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Old 10-10-2022, 06:59 PM   #5
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We also contact the local police department, and they will do a daily check of our property. On our last 3-month trip, they texted me 2 times to inquire about certain items of interest.
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Old 10-10-2022, 07:12 PM   #6
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Check with your insurance company to see what they require for a home temporarily unoccupied , as far as inspection/entry to insure continuous coverage .

This usually varies by region so you need to talk to your insurance broker .
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Old 10-11-2022, 05:48 AM   #7
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We have "USPS Informed Delivery" which is a free service from the USPS. Every day they send an email showing what mail/packages will be delivered that day. My brother in law picks up our mail while we are on the road, and if I see something I need, I call him and he mails it to me.

https://informeddelivery.usps.com/bo...o/start.action
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Old 10-11-2022, 06:11 AM   #8
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Camera or two, smart thermostat, smart doorbell will give you some peace of mind. A smart device like Amazon Echo will monitor for sounds and alarms, but you can also get monitored security fairly cheap these days. Vacation hold on the mail. It's good to have someone checking in person, whether that's a neighbor or relative or you via camera. After awhile you'll find that you worry less about things.
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Old 10-11-2022, 12:01 PM   #9
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Thanks. All good experience & advice.
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Old 10-11-2022, 12:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MtCamper View Post
Not much of a concern in Amarillo but up north we worry about freezing. We plug in a thermostat controlled light that comes on at 39˚. Neighbors has keys and phone numbers to our HVAC guy.
Your reply reminded me I have not updated my profile. After I retired, we moved from Amarillo, TX to Deerfield, WI.
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Old 10-11-2022, 12:40 PM   #11
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Our longest trips are 2 months. For trips of more than a week, we remove anything from the fridge that’s likely to become a science experiment. We leave the fridge and chest freezer on. We turn off the water heater, reduce furnace thermostat to 55F, and turn off the well pump. But we leave electricity on, so we can have some lights on, and power the furnace. You can hire a sitter to come check inside every couple of days. Although we travel with our pet, our pet sitter checks the house. We put mail and newspaper on hold, and we can have USPS hold it for more than 30 days. But we normally have someone go to the post office and pick up mail, go through it, and forward stuff we may need through UPS to one of our destinations. We check home security camera recordings every couple of days. If cameras fully charged, they last for about 60 days.
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Old 10-11-2022, 12:45 PM   #12
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For us, the biggest issue is the Post Office. You need to sign up for the USPS online service to get an email about your daily mail and then convert all of your bill paying to online. Our issue, we have these damn gang mailboxes in our neighborhood, and they only hold so much mail. If you get mail delivered a mailbox at your house, consider converting it to a safe type where the mail goes in and has to be removed from a locked panel on the back.

Unless you have a friend, neighbor or family member who can check the house on occasion, pick up newspapers and make sure everything is okay, it's going to be tougher to set up the house for long trips.
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Old 10-11-2022, 01:46 PM   #13
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We did that for 20+ years. Mail & online bill pay have been covered already and that's what we did, so I won't repeat.


Some things depend on the location of the home and your neighborhood. Ours was a small town community, quite safe and neighbors would always keep an eye on our place. They would call us if any concern arose, which did happen a couple times. We set the thermostat (we are Florida so needed some cooling to keep house dry), turned off most all water (I had previously installed selective shut-offs), locked the doors and made sure the insurance was paid. I also taped emergency contact info by the entry doors, in case needed (one phone for me, one for my daughter who lived 20 miles away).


For the last 3-4 years we had wifi thermostat and security cameras, but in our quiet place it was more curiosity than need. Other places, maybe more value.
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Old 10-11-2022, 03:25 PM   #14
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Agreed on talking to your insurance company. They likely won't dictate specifics except probably to keep the water off, the heat on, and to have someone stop by often enough that any damage that could result in an insurance claim will be found and minimized. Ours also considers that if the house is empty for more than half the year the coverage changes and we need a different policy.

I use an electronic checklist app and this is ours for a long-term vacancy with temps below freezing. I keep a separate one for summer trips.

Ray

---------------------------------------------
Stuff to do a few weeks before departure
---------------------------------------------

Order a new kitchen refrigerator water filter if none on hand.

Mail forwarded via USPS to oldest kid. Set up at least a week in advance.

Notify credit card companies of travel.

---------------------------------
A Few Days Before Departure
---------------------------------

Change garage door opener battery.

Shed locked.

Inspect all attic openings for possible animal intrusion points.

Patio furniture stored in shed or otherwise secured from damage due to snow or high winds.

Grill moved against house or otherwise secured against snow and high winds. Lock the wheels if possible. Propane or natural gas valve is turned off.

Snow removal service confirmed.

Propane fire table tank valve turned off and cover is secured in place.

Check for loose wood and other things that could be used as break-in tools.

Replace all light bulbs that are on timers or on electric eyes.

Place new bulbs on kitchen island and mark whether for inside or outside use.

Inspect and secure gutters for leaves and loose nails.

Turn off both outside water faucets. Then open the outside valve to release any trapped water.

Furnace air filter changed.

Smoke detector batteries all changed recently.

Grab any DVD's we may want to bring along.

Cash stash.

-----------------------------------------
House Miscellaneous, departure date
-----------------------------------------

Empty water from the Keurig.

All windows locked.

All screen doors locked or otherwise secured from wind damage.

Sunroom register closed and doors are locked.

All drapes and blinds closed.

Check each room and unplug anything that is not mandatory.

Turn off Schedule on Nest interior cameras.

Check Nest camera positioning.

Nest cameras set to Away after leaving home (all cameras will record 24x7).

Nest thermostat set to 55 degrees, Heat only, for 24 hours a day.

In the kitchen, say 'Alexa, I'm leaving' to arm Alexa Guard.

Remove batteries from remote controls.

Bring extra car key.

--------
Kitchen
--------

Unplug refrigerator. Prop doors open to avoid smells. Dump ice.

Flip dishwasher switch under sink to Off

Unplug phone

Prop sink cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate in case of bitter cold.

Pour distilled water into dishwasher.

Run water into sink P-trap and place drain plug.

--------------------------
Family and Living Room
--------------------------

Check each room and unplug everything that is not mandatory.

-----------
Basement
-----------

Move chair and rug out of the camera's field of view.

Turn off water heater valve and the gas valve to water heater.

Unplug furnace humidifier since water will be turned off.

Unplug all non-mandatory items.

Turn off all non-essential circuit breakers.

Turn water OFF at the main valves, before and after the water meter.

Open utility sink faucets. Open all faucets upstairs to drain water from lines. Then close faucets.

------------
Bathrooms
------------

Close sink and bathtub drain to reduce evaporation of water from traps.

Close each drain and add water to each sink and the bath tub.

Saran Wrap and warning sign on each toilet.

Unplug night light in downstairs bathroom.

Grab all unexpired meds and toiletries.

-----------
Neighbors
-----------

Leave contact list and itinerary with neighbors.

Leave key and garage door code with trusted neighbor.

Move shovels and stuff away from the garage person door.

-------
Family
-------

Verify the keys are hanging where they are supposed to be.

Give sister a house key.

Leave garage door code, itinerary and contact list with sister.
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