As summer approaches, many Florida homeowners leave the area. Some go north for the summer. Others take vacations. Because of Florida’s weather, empty homes often deal with humidity, flooding, and mold and mildew issues. Regardless of why your home is empty, you’ll want to be sure to take measures to keep your home safe while away.
Pay Attention to Your Utility Bills
For residents who will be gone for an extended period of time, it will be important to pay attention to your utility bills. A significant change in usage can tell you such things as:
- An appliance is malfunctioning
- The AC is not working correctly
- There is a water leak
Florida homes are vulnerable to high humidity. It can rust anything metal, cause mold growth, corrode electronics, deteriorate natural materials like cotton and leather, warp wood, cause insect infestations, ruin paint and wallpaper, and produce musty odors. To avoid these issues, a homeowner needs to keep the humidity inside their home to between 30 and 50 percent.
There are several ways to keep humidity at bay:
- Run your AC even though you are not home. It doesn’t have to be set as low as if you were living there, but shouldn’t be set above 80 degrees.
- Turn off water inside to remove the likelihood of leaks.
- Remotely monitor humidity using a thermostat app that allows you to make temperature adjustments as needed.
- Use the same system to send alerts if the temperatures get too high or too low
Leak and Flood Management
Humidity isn’t the only water issue you have to consider while away. You’ll also want to prevent flooding and leaking. The best way to know about a leak is by using a remote water sensor that will alert you by phone if it detects water. These sensors can be placed near areas prone to leakage, such as toilets, sinks, windows, doors, and appliances.
Mold and Mildew
Warm, humid environments are perfect for mold and mildew growth. To prevent mold and mildew, there are a few things you should do before leaving home for an extended time.
- Clean and vacuum thoroughly before leaving
- Change your AC filter to prevent mold from spreading through the house
- Use a programmable thermostat to run your AC. One suggestion is to keep it at 72 for two hours every morning before sunrise and 88 the rest of the time. For nonprogrammable thermostats, set the temperature to 80.
- Run a humidistat or dehumidifier while you are gone. Be sure these are set to drain into a shower or tub.
- Mold likes to grow in areas without good air flow, so keep your closet and cabinet doors open.
Faulty appliances often cause damage to a home. Therefore, if you are leaving for a period of time, consider the following:
- Turn off the circuit breaker for the water heater
- Unplug small appliances
- Don’t leave the home with the dishwasher or washing machine open.
- To reduce the chance of mold, leave dishwasher and washing machine doors/lids open
- Turn your icemaker to the off position
- Remove foods from refrigerator and keep it set at a warmer setting
Finally, you need to think about ways to keep your home safe while you are away. Here are some tips:
- Change the batteries in your smoke detectors
- Turn off the water main
- Lock all windows and doors
- Close blinds and curtains.
- Stop all deliveries including newspaper, mail, and packages
- Have someone you trust check on your home weekly. Be sure your neighbors have emergency contact information in case they see a problem.
By following these steps, Florida homeowners are less likely to deal with home damage while they are away. However, even those who follow these guidelines can experience home damage. If you need to file an damage claim, contact Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting, LLC. We are here to help you.