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Old 09-11-2021, 12:21 PM   #1
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Full time and still own stick and brick home.

We will be retiring soon and we plan to keep our stick and brick home, but travel months at a time.

What do you do before you leave for a long time from home.

I am thinking of turning the water heater off and shutting off the water to the house.

All suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 09-11-2021, 12:40 PM   #2
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We turn water and water heater off along with ice maker. We have a few lights hooked up on timers and some cameras that we can view on our phones. Also stop mail or have it forwarded to friends house.
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Old 09-11-2021, 12:51 PM   #3
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Here's a checklist we've used for the past 5 years. We leave home for 6 months every winter.
Attached Files
File Type: docx Leave Home Checklist.docx (13.4 KB, 489 views)
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Old 09-11-2021, 01:05 PM   #4
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Do you have anyone who can check on the house while you're gone? Lots of things can go wrong in a house without someone checking to see if something has broken or critters are attempting to move in. A broken heater or air conditioner might result in expensive cleanup repairs (think mildew if you're in a humid area). You also want someone to check to make certain no one has gained unauthorized access to your home.

Turning off the water and water heater while your gone is a great idea, but you'll need to drain the lines if you get a hard freeze over several days. I'm certain the checklist contains recommendations, but I can't open it (don't have microsoft)
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Old 09-11-2021, 01:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Reverse_snowbird View Post
I'm certain the checklist contains recommendations, but I can't open it (don't have microsoft)
Here it is in PDF.
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File Type: pdf Leave Home Checklist.pdf (66.7 KB, 245 views)
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Old 09-11-2021, 01:37 PM   #6
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bills on auto pay
valuables in safe
check insurance in full force
emergency keys and fob to trusted gatekeeper
notify bank credit cards of travel
heat to 60* when we lived in MO and ran away from winter
a/c to 80* now in FL and run away from hurricanes and summer.
drains bleached and closed/covered
toilets flushed and bleached after water is off.
fridge empty with baking soda box in shelf and doors open
ice maker off and dumped
non essential breakers off
car battery disconnected and gas stabilized.
water off
cameras checked
doors checked
check for wallet/purse, cash and checkbook packed
find dog
alarm set
check garage door down
drive away with thoughts of adventure
begin singing badly and trying to remember what I forgot before I get too far away.

Note: When we lived in a secluded rural area we hired a bonded/licensed home watch service.
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Old 09-11-2021, 04:22 PM   #7
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When I leave for extended periods I turn off water heater, turn off water to washing machine, set furnace to 60 degrees (my Insurance Co requires 55 degree min when house unoccupied) and turn on alarm. My alarm system allows me to check in via camera when I want (using smartphone) and also tell salesmen who ring my doorbell I'm not interested in whatever they're peddling. This feature is worthwhile as around here there are those who ring doorbells just to see if the house is unoccupied so they can then break in.

I told the pest control salesman "No Thanks" from over 1600 miles away three weeks ago.
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Old 09-12-2021, 02:00 PM   #8
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So now living in our Florida S&B house all year long when we head for 2-3 months we do most of the items on the list mentioned above but living less than a 1/2mile from the ocean we pull all our Lania furniture into the LR along with the grille and our lanai full size refrigerator. If heading to NE we forward our mail to our daughter if not we put it on hold since everything is basically on auto-pay anyway Good friends of ours will mow the lawn weekly and go through the house every few weeks or so and flush all the toilets, run all the showers and sinks. Doing this is very important since the water will evaporate with all the AC running even set on 80o and can even do the same to the trap enough to start have sewer gases get into the house. We found this out the hard way many years ago when we built a vacation home down here and was in it for about 8 months due to medical issues and didn't think of it as a problem until we finally got down here and noticed an sewer odor. noticed the toilets were bone dry and the smell was coming up from one of them, not super strong just enough. Of course if you live in colder weather and heading south a big problem is making sure you don't lose heat. So we would have a means of monitoring the temp plus have my kids drop by once a week or so and check. Nice to have camera's they really help along with the doorbell. I use them all the time but they don't cover ever part of the house and garage.
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Old 09-12-2021, 02:03 PM   #9
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When we did this I installed a alarm system by Frontpoint and it monitors smoke, carbon monoxide, motion, doors and power. They have tons of other options that includes video as well. It just gave us a little peace of mind.
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Old 09-12-2021, 03:50 PM   #10
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Empty houses are prime targets for burglary. Don't expect priority response from your home security company.

People do this all the time but they don't just turn off the lights and stop the mail or shouldn't.

I'd want family member or a bonded house-caretaker to frequently check the house. Who's gonna cut your grass, be sure no unexpected packages are all over your front porch and your mailbox isn't overflowing with junk mail and handbills? Once the water in the toilets evaporates the house will fill with sewer gas. In winter a power outage can easily allow some of your plumbing to freeze which can flood the house when the power and heat comes back on and it thaws up. Neighbors saw water running down the side of my brother's house (from the upstairs bathroom thru the clapboard siding) and were nice enough to get the water shut off at the street. And he was only gone for a week or ten days. Came home to a dark, cold house with the dining room ceiling on top of the dining room table and his three cats fluffed up the size of beach balls. (I think the neighbors had the power shut off too as they didn't know what was going on and he was out of contact.)

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Old 09-12-2021, 03:53 PM   #11
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In addition to all of the technological upgrades, get a thermostat that you can program online. Make sure it has a humidistat included. Very efficient and a definite money saver!!!
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Old 09-13-2021, 08:41 AM   #12
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Lots of good tips. Here is a couple more. When we go away for 10 weeks or so I cancel the PL and PD insurance for any vehicles left at home and not being used.Make sure to leave the comprehensive insurance on in case of fire or theft.We also check with our utility suppliers to see if they have a vacation mode.Several in our area do and it saves quite a bit of money.We also monitor our house temp.every day and have a list of trusted repair guys to look after the house if there is a problem.Hide a key or leave the key with a trusted person to let them in to do the repairs.You call the repair people not the house sitter. WE learn that on the hard way.A $200 repair ended up at $800 because of week end call out and overtime fees. Cheers Rob
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Old 09-13-2021, 08:48 AM   #13
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Our local post office will hold the mail, but their policy states they’ll only hold it a max of 30 days. We went on a three month trip on two recent years and they still held the mail. But more than that, their probably going to say something. BTW - their hold the mail form gives two options: “hold until this date” or “hold until I come and pick it up.”
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Old 09-14-2021, 05:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboss View Post
Here it is in PDF.
Here is their list.

Leave Home Checklist
o Stake Driveway
o Clean Lawn Mower
o Remove A/C from windows
o All plugs out
o Car on Charger
o Set Heat Thermostat/change batteries
o Drain Water
o Stow Garage Hose
o Close Basement Door
o Clean Fireplace
o Chop Kindling
o All Batteries Out
o Mouse deterrents In
o Lock All Windows
o Mail Stuff to Eva
o Guns Stowed
o Anti-Freeze in Toilets and Drains
o Shower Valves Drained
o Replace Garage Opener Batteries
o Propane – OFF
o Well Pump - OFF
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Old 09-14-2021, 05:58 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Vince and Charlette View Post
Our local post office will hold the mail, but their policy states they’ll only hold it a max of 30 days. We went on a three month trip on two recent years and they still held the mail. But more than that, their probably going to say something. BTW - their hold the mail form gives two options: “hold until this date” or “hold until I come and pick it up.”
We spend 5 to 5 and a half months on the road every year. besides what everyone else has posted, we do the 30 day mail hold and have a friend go by the house and pick up the accumulated mail after it is delivered after 30 days. I then start a new 30 day hold and do this every 30+. Our friend goes through the mail which is 95% junk and will let us know if it is anything important.
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Old 09-16-2021, 06:45 PM   #16
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Leaving the Stick/Brick house

Everything posted is good. Couple oddball things I didn't see mentioned; I read somewhere that if you cover your toilet bowl with plastic wrap (tightly), the water in it wont evaporate. Tried it, works great. I leave for about two months and virtually no water loss. We of course have an alarm system with camera in the living space (Simplisafe). I put two things in view of the camera; 1) a large thermometer so I can view remotely and be confident the ac is functioning (important to me since I am in FL and have wood floors). Secondly, sounds silly but I lay a $20 bill in plain sight of the camera. I figure no chance an intruder won't take it so if I can see it remotely, I can be pretty sure the house is fine. Lastly, one single ice cube in a zip lock bag in the top of my chest freezer. If you come home and its still in cube shape, you know the power wasn't off long enough for freezer contents to thaw and re-freeze (in which case food could be spoiled but re-frozen). Again, important to me since I'm in FL, and the freezer is in the non-conditioned garage. Enjoy your trips!!
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Old 09-16-2021, 07:45 PM   #17
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We do all of the previously mentioned things except we have mail forwarded to a PO box at our local post office. My son is able to pick it up about weekly when he checks the house. I was summoned for jury duty and would have been in trouble had I not responded within 14 days of the notice. Leaving mail for 30 days could present a problem for mail such as this.
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Old 09-16-2021, 09:41 PM   #18
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Change all your accounts to e-billing and e-statements (banks, investments, doctors, utilities, insurance, etc.) It reduces your snail mail tremendously and let's you make sure accounts are up to date while on the road.
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Old 09-16-2021, 09:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejw7213 View Post
We will be retiring soon and we plan to keep our stick and brick home, but travel months at a time.

What do you do before you leave for a long time from home.

I am thinking of turning the water heater off and shutting off the water to the house.

All suggestions are appreciated.
We do most of the things mentioned, but our biggest problem is rings forming in the toilets. Those are very difficult to remove and I've never been 100% successful at removing them.
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Old 09-16-2021, 10:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Hclarkx View Post
We do most of the things mentioned, but our biggest problem is rings forming in the toilets. Those are very difficult to remove and I've never been 100% successful at removing them.
If your toilets bowls are porcelain, get some Pumie Scouring Sticks from Walmart for less than $2. Removes all rings, stains, calcification. Been using them most of my life on toilet bowls.
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