Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go! ‘Tis the season for family gatherings, holiday get togethers, and traveling. For many Florida homeowners, this means a trip away from the sunny south. We at Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday as we add a cautionary note. We’ve seen what can happen when a home is unoccupied, and we certainly don’t want that happening to you.

So, here are a few things to keep your home safe while you visit friends and family.

1. Unplug

One of the biggest problems that occurs with a vacant home is an electrical fire. The best way to prevent such a fire is to unplug any non-essential electrical device before leaving home. It only takes a moment, plus you’ll get an added benefit of saving money on your electrical bill.

What should you consider unplugging? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Alarm clock
  • Coffee maker
  • Toaster
  • Other kitchen appliances that sit on the counter
  • Television and TV components such as DVD player or speakers
  • Computer and computer peripherals
  • Lamps
  • Hairdryer
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Waterpik
  • Charging station

2. Cancel

Another big problem that occurs with unoccupied homes is theft and vandalism. One way to combat this problem is to make sure your home doesn’t look empty. The best way to do this is to cancel any services that will pile up on your porch, lawn, or mailbox. Consider such things as:

  • Newspapers
  • US mail
  • Packages – Don’t order anything for a few weeks before you go or have someone willing to pick up any packages that arrive after you’ve left town

Ask a friend or neighbor to come by your home on a regular basis to be sure that there is nothing piling up on your porch or lawn. They can also rid the door of any flyers or notices.

3. Turn Off

Imagine coming home to water flowing out the front door and down the steps. That’s what could be waiting for you if you were to have a burst or leaky pipe while you are away. The best way to prevent water damage is to turn off the water to your home before you leave. Many homes have a turn off valve inside the home. Others have one at the street. If you aren’t sure where your water main is located, speak to a professional who can help.

4. Prepare

Think about what types of events could happen while you are away, and then prepare your home in advance. Although the holiday season is beyond Hurricane season for Florida residents, it is still possible to get a winter wind event. If you live in an area prone to unstable winter weather, prepare your home. This might include closing hurricane shutters, bringing in outdoor furniture, and tying down larger items.

5. Check

If you plan to be gone for more than a week or two, ask a friend to check inside your home periodically. The purpose of this visit is to check for things like:

  • Water leaks
  • Signs of a break-in
  • Unusual odors
  • Anything  that seems out of the ordinary or needs immediate attention

The Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting team hopes you have a wonderful holiday season full of joy and fellowship. If, however, you come home to find damage, we will be here to help. Call us and let our experienced public adjusters help you file your claim.