How to Prep Your Home For Vacation

If you’re heading out of town soon, you’re likely packing and preparing. But have you given thought to the home you’re leaving behind?

Webber offers the following tips to prepare the home before leaving for vacation:

Unplug appliances – Appliances continue to use energy even when the device is turned off. It is best to unplug all devices including phone chargers, computers, televisions and coffee pots. This will not only save energy, but it will prevent damage from lightning strikes and power surges.

Adjust air conditioning – The air conditioning system uses a significant amount of energy. Turn the temperature up 10 degrees higher than it is usually set, or have a professional install a programmable thermostat that can be adjusted to turn on and cool the home just before returning from vacation.

Clean garbage disposal – The waste disposal is notorious for developing unpleasant odors while the house is empty. It is wise to flush the garbage disposal out with ½ cup of white vinegar and hot water while the disposal is turned on.

Change the setting on the water heater – There is no need to heat water for an empty home. Adjust the water heater to vacation mode. If the water heater does not have a vacation mode, turn the temperature down. This will save a significant amount of money on the energy bill.

Put lights on a timer – According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), there are more than 2.15 million burglaries each year, with the majority occurring in the peak vacation months of July and August. If a home is dark, it is a sure sign that someone is not home. Put a couple of lamps on a timer inside the home. Set these to go on and off at different intervals. This will give the illusion that someone is home and make the home less vulnerable to burglaries.

Treat stagnant water in toilet – Water left inactive in the toilet can produce a foul odor and a difficult to remove ring that forms around the toilet bowl. To prevent this, place ½ cup of bleach in the toilet bowl just before leaving home.

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Home Heating Tips- Save Money on Your Next Heating Bill

Heating-Costs-during-WinterWith energy costs literally going through the roof, here are some quick tips to keep your home warm this winter without breaking the bank.

Seal Leaks- Caulk both the inside and outside of your windows with a water-resistant product.

Turn on the Fan- Reverse the direction of airflow on your ceiling fans. Since warm air rises, the fan blades will push the air down and help keep the warmer air in circulation.

Close Off Unused Space- Close vents and doors to rooms and other areas (basements, dining rooms, guest bedrooms, etc) you don’t use regularly.

Optimize Your Time in the Kitchen- Turning down the heat when it’s time to cook/bake and wait to cook when everyone’s home and can enjoy the added warmth. Leave the oven door cracked open for 15-20 minutes after shutting off the oven so the warm air can fill the room.

Shower Steam- When you shower, keep the bathroom door open so steam spreads toshowersteam other rooms, and don’t turn a ventilation fan on; it will rapidly remove the warm air you’re hoping to keep around.

Let the Sun Shine In- Leverage passive solar power during the day by leaving your curtains and drapes open. The brighter the better!

Duct and Cover- Duct work that’s not well-insulated, disconnected, or dirty impedes air flow and makes your heating system work harder. Check ducts in the attic and basement, vacuum or wipe them out, and seal loose connections with a metal-backed tape.

Call the Pros- It’s not a bad idea to have a professional or licensed HVAC Company come out every couple of years to inspect and clean your system to ensure its working at optimal performance.

Replace Air Filters- A clean air filter will not only reduce dust inside, it will reduce the amount of energy it takes for your heater to work and extend its life.

Consider a programmable thermostat or Lower your thermostat- You likely won’t notice a huge difference if you turn it down just a few degrees, a move that can shave 5% to 10% percent off your heating bill. It’s especially wise to turn down the heat whenever you leave your home for several hours or in the middle of the night when you’re sound a sleep.

Insulate- Though more expensive than the other strategies, insulation gives you a big bang for your winterizing buck. You should have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic.

gerrys-frozen-houseIf you’d like to reduce your heating bills this season, consider giving some of these free or low-cost tips a try. If you would like a referral for a reputable HVAC Contractor or Home Insulating Company, give your LOCAL Prudential Select Properties Agent a call. Staying warm this winter doesn’t have to freeze your home or break the bank!!!

Prudential Select Properties St Charles County Office, 636-720-1100