Preparing your home for your winter vacation

You’re probably more than ready for winter vacation after the flurry of activity of the December holidays. Your home might not be ready for your absence, though. Although it can’t talk, it will "miss" you and your ability to look after it on a daily basis. There are a few things you can do to prepare it for your trip, suggests USA Today. You’ll save money, energy, and lower your chances of coming home to problems. Save yourself potential home insurance claims with these easy tips from Little Falls, MN, Hanneken Insurance Agency Inc.

1. Unplug unneeded electrical devices. Those lamps, TVs, stereos, and space heaters still use energy when plugged in even if they’re turned off. They also create a fire risk if left plugged into an outlet.

2. Turn down the thermostat to 50 degrees. This setting still protects the pipes from bursting but saves energy. If you’re leaving behind your pets, adjust it accordingly, bumping it up to 55 or 60 degrees.

3. Turn off your home’s water supply and open and drain all the faucets. Leave one faucet open on the lowest floor of the house to let excess water and air drain.

4. Lower the water heater to the lowest setting or turn it off altogether to save energy and money.

5. Let service professionals like the cleaning service know when you’ll be gone. Alert your credit card company and alarm service to and let them know how you’d like things handled in your absence.

6. Ask a friend to check on your home daily while you’re gone. Have them bring in the mail and newspapers, feed the pets, etc. To make it look like you’re the home, you may also need to request sidewalk shoveling, if necessary. You might leave some funds for them to hire a neighborhood teen to do the work.

7. If you have a pool and have not already closed it for winter, now is the time. Scrub the decks, too.

8. Close all entry points to your home, such as the fireplace flue. This way, you won’t come home to unwanted pests like birds nesting in your living room, says <a href="">Home Advisor</a>.

9. Clean out the refrigerator and freezer before leaving. Throw out anything that could rot or spoil while you’re gone. If the power goes out, you have one less thing to worry about.

10. In wind-exposed areas, install storm shutters. Secure them before leaving.

A few quick items can keep your home safer during winter. Complete these ten items and give yourself peace of mind while enjoying your time away from home.