As summer approaches, a few folks have been asking for our Vacation Checklist. I’ve updated it in the last year, because D.I.Y. Security Systems with cameras have become very affordable and common. Now systems are widely available that can monitor our homes and businesses with alarm sensors and cameras both inside and out. And we can connect to them through our phones from anywhere in the world with internet access.
Systems range in price from $200 to $300 for basic indoor systems with 4 cameras, and on-site or Cloud storage, to medium size systems for $400 to $800 that cover both indoors and outdoors using wireless and infrared enabled cameras with H.D. for night times. Larger, more powerful systems are available if pricing is of little issue. Many of the wireless cameras on these systems have substantial range (up to 500 ft.) so yards and out-buildings can be included. Even if you have a house-sitter when you’re on vacation, it’s very comforting to be able to lounge by a pool in the tropics, and pick up your phone to see who’s knocking on your back door.
Many of us have our own checklists when we leave on vacation. Here’s the list I use. It’s based on common sense and many years of seeing some pretty bad damages when our clients have left their homes and business unattended.
Give family and/or a trusted friend or neighbor...
- A key. Don’t hide a key; they can always be found
- Their personal ‘Code’ for the Alarm System; (not the Master Code)
- Our Itinerary.
- The mail.
Make sure Pets...
- Have enough food and water if left alone.
- Have documented Care Details current and copied to sitter/boarder etc
- If appropriate, their Vet is notified who your Pet Sitter is and can speak for you/contact you.
Make sure the house...
- Looks normal from the outside
- Shades drawn?
- Car in driveway, or not.
- Lawn maintained etc. Mowing? Watering?
Turn off / disconnect...
- The ringer on any landline phone.
- Message centers should have volume all the way down.
- Power to any small appliance; iron, toaster etc.
- Stove, Oven, Gas bar-b-que
- All Wireless Computer equipment, Printers etc
- If Wi-Fi is needed/used on your security system and/or cameras, be sure it retains power and is set up and pass-word protected carefully and thoroughly.
- Power to water heater (circuit breaker or gas shut-off).
- Water supplies to...
- The washing machine. (Even the ‘braided stainless steel’ hoses pop apart sometimes.)
- The water heater. (Usually the valve on the right-side pipe, right above it.)
- Ice Maker. (It should have its own shut-off; hopefully under the kitchen sink, but if not it should be behind the refrigerator; you’ll have to pull it out. Yes, it’s worth it. )
- Dishwasher. (It should have its own shutoff under the sink.)
- To the whole house if you have cheap plastic shut-offs to fixtures (sinks, toilets), plastic risers or corrugated flexible risers to fixtures.
- Wi-Fi, as mentioned above for security system.
- All interior doors are as you want, (think of fire and alarm system issues).
- All exterior doors and windows are locked.
- All drapes and blinds are as you want.
- Automatic Garage Door is unplugged. (Remotes are easily defeated by crooks).
- Automatic Timers on lights are programmed; one Control per floor level minimum.
- All digital/computer equipment is as you want.
- Temperature on heating/cooling system. Do NOT turn off; adjust for median temp. If you turn it off, humid muggy air will promote mold in the summer, and too cold in the winter will allow pipes to freeze on the outer walls of the house.
- Refrigerator; remove food that will spoil
- Large freezer - that it’s plugged in and closed safe and sound. If it locks, lock it. If it doesn’t a short strip of duct-tape across the door seal by the handle is a quick, visual indicator that it’s shut tight.
- All garbage is emptied and taken out.
- Valuables, Firearms etc; that they are locked away in a safe.
Then, lock the door on the way out, forget everything and HAVE FUN!!!
Bruce Davis Sr.
Licensed Journeyman Plumber
Licensed Electrician, HVAC/R
Electrical Administrator, HVAC/R
Certified WA State C.E.U. Instructor
Bruce Sr is President of Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating, a64-year old family owned and operated plumbing and heatingbusiness in Lynnwood, Washington.Bruce can be contacted at: Email: Bruce@dayandnite.net
Day and Nite Plumbing and Heating Inc.16614 13th Ave. W. Lynnwood, WA 98037800-972-7000