Getting the House Ready
Part of planning winter vacations is making sure your home here in Michigan is ready for winter. While most families will be gone only one or two weeks this winter, many retired persons will go for a month or longer.
By now residents of Michigan will know if their heat works. If your home uses a forced air furnace, clean or replace the air filter and make sure the air vents are not blocked and air can flow freely. When leaving for vacation, heat should be “on” but set to a low temperature, such as 55° or 60° F.
The hot water tank can be lowered to its lowest setting before leaving on a trip as well. Many units will have a “vacation” mode to turn the dial to. Air conditioner units outside should be covered. First, they should be cleaned and free from leaves. Then a breathable, waterproof cover fastened over it.
If pets are staying home, make sure you have a reliable pet sitter and a backup sitter. Have enough food and treats available for the person coming to the house and have phone numbers to the animal’s veterinarian and local emergency vets on hand.
That same pet sitter could get the mail and water the plants. Use a check-list for the person that would remind him or her of what days to do things, such as: Newspaper comes on Sunday, water plants on Wednesday, check mail every day.
If plants and pets are not part of the equation, you could simply have the mail stopped. The United States Postal Service will “hold” mail for three to 30 days. Fill out the yellow post card at the post office or do it online. At the end of the hold period, all your mail will come at once.
When it comes to social media, such as Facebook, consider posting photos and status updates when you return from vacation. Think about all the people you would be advertising to about leaving your house empty for a week.
Arrange for someone to clean the snow (if it snows while you are away) from your driveway and sidewalks before you return. For one, it will appear that someone is home; and two, it will be done for your return.
Leave emergency numbers and information with family or friends; and make sure they know how to reach you while you’re on vacation.
Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at Michael@RochesterMedia.com