Properly securing the house when leaving for a long trip is essential for the safety and security of the house.
Whether you are leaving your primary home for a vacation or closing down a vacation property for the year, winterizing a property or leaving home for a period of time, you need to ensure that the house is properly closed down and secured for the period of your absence.
It has happened to people you know before. They have returned back home or to a vacation property to find it invaded or destroyed. A friend once went away on a holiday without properly closing down the house, only to be called up by the neighbors that her house had burnt down due to an electrical malfunction. This, of course, is a rare case but things like this do often happen. People return back home to find dead birds or little animals in their homes or find the property vandalized or robbed. The key to avoiding accidents such as those mentioned above and keeping your house safe and secure in your absence is to close it down properly before you leave.
Preventing a Disaster While You are Away
Making sure that the house is safe is the best way to prevent coming back to disasters. This requires preparation and some effort on your part. The first thing to do is to create a list of all the jobs that need to be done before closing a house. Start with an inspection of the property to note down all the vulnerable areas inside and outside the house. Starting from the interior of the house, make a list of all the things that need to be attended to before you leave. Finally, make a list of things you need to attend to outside the house. Also, make a security check and inspect all the alarm systems to ensure that everything is working in case of an emergency.
Prep Inspection of the Property
- Go through every part of the house to find and plug the vulnerable areas where disaster can strike. Start with the periphery and make your way into the house.
- Check the fencing and the boundary walls to detect any breaches or areas where strengthening or repairs are required. Note down what is required to secure the periphery.
- Check the yard for anything that can be stolen or damaged by weather. If there are things that need to be protected, make a note and attend to it before leaving.
- Check all the outside buildings including barns, sheds or storage areas. Make sure that they are in good repair and all the shutters and doors close properly.
- If you have a garden make sure you have someone to take care of it or install a drip irrigation system unless you wish to come back to a dead garden.
- Inspect the exterior walls of the house for any damage or repairs.
- Check the shutters and the exterior doors of the house. They should all be in good shape and strong enough to withstand a break in or any severe weather conditions.
- Check the overhead tanks and water supply pipes for leakage, overflow or damage. Water can cause irreparable damage to your property and possessions.
- Check the storm drains and gutters to make sure that there are no blockages or leakages and rain-water flows properly.
- Inside the house, make sure all doors close and lock properly.
- All the windows have shutters that can withstand weather and assault.
- Check the electrical fittings to make sure there are no fire hazards
- Inspect the gas line and ensure that it is secure, has no leakages and will not be damaged by rodents.
- Inspect all the faucets and sanitary fittings for leakages or drips. Replace or repair the leaky faucets.
- If you have a basement, check the basement for any moisture buildup. If there is any, do not store anything there that is likely to be damaged by the moisture. Have someone take care of it as soon as possible.
- Check all the wardrobes and make sure they are moisture free so your clothes do not get moldy and smell musty.
Preparing Your Home For When you Leave
Now that you have a list of all the things that require attention, go ahead and start preparing the house. Call the repairman to attend to all that needs fixing. Make sure every item on your list is taken care of before you leave.
You may want to deep clean the house in preparation of closing it down. This will ensure that the house is clean and tidy when you get back and all the bugs and dust has been taken care of. If you need to know more about deep cleaning read help4u.today blog posts on deep cleaning.
- In preparation to closing down the house, the first thing to do is to take care of all the water and plumbing. Make sure that all the faucets are turned off and there are no drips. Put baking soda into the drains to unclog them and ensure there is no stagnant water in the house. Cockroaches can be a big menace in Dubai, install anti cockroach scuppers on all drains. Make sure you close them when you leave to prevent bugs from invading your house. Turn off the main water supply into the house if you are likely to be away for a few months.
- Unplug all the electrical and electronic appliances and ensure that the switches are all turned off. If you are going to be away several months, then turn off the mains.
- If you are leaving for a long period of time, empty out the refrigerator and the deep freezer of all the food, clean it and unplug it. If you are likely to be out only for a couple of weeks or so, you can leave the freezer and the fridge plugged in and on.
- Air conditioners are ubiquitous in all Dubai homes. You shouldn’t turn off the air conditioners while you are away. But since they consume a lot of electricity, you may want to turn up the thermostat to about 30 degrees Centigrade or around 85 Fahrenheit. This will ensure that your house is not baking hot when you return. If you have a programmable thermostat, do go ahead and program it to turn down on the day that you are likely to return so you come back to a cool house. If you are going to be away for a longer time or a few months, then turn off the air conditioner and have a friend or a neighbor turn it on before you are due to arrive back.
- Any food item that is likely to go off during your absence should be given away or thrown out. All food grains should be stored in airtight containers. If you feel that they may get infested, then give them away to someone who can use them. It is very unpleasant to return to a home that has spoilt food lying in cupboards.
- Lock away all your valuables in a secure locker. Do not leave jewellery and other valuable items around the house. Make sure to leave nothing attractive that can be seen from outside the house. Remove anything that you feel may attract vandals or thieves.
- Fold up all the bedding and put it in vacuum packs to ensure that they remain dust free. Store them in a cool dry place. Cover the mattresses with dust sheets. Roll up carpets and rugs. Make sure they are completely dry. Store them with desiccants to avoid mold and fungus.
- Cover all the sofas and upholstered furniture with dust sheets. Put packets of desiccant near each bit of furniture to help absorb all the excess moisture.
Closing Down the House
- Go through the entire house and close all doors and windows. Shutter and lock them Double check to ensure that they are all secure. Check all the ventilators and openings to ensure that no one can get into the house through them. Make sure all the shutters fit well and there are no gaps for small animals to get into the house.
- Turn on the alarm system and check to see that it works. If you have programmable lights, program them to come on and off at set times. This is a good way to deter any break-ins.
- Lock and secure the house. Make sure that the house doesn’t look unoccupied from the outside. If you have to put a lock, put it on the backdoor instead where it is not so visible.
- Arrange for someone to come and clean up the yard and garden every few days. Dirty yard and neglected garden is the first sign of an unlived-in house. You may want to hire a maid or a caretaker online to come and perform these duties. You can look up reliable domestic help in Dubai on help4u.today.
- Have someone come and open the house at least once a week in your absence and have it cleaned. If you have family in Dubai, they can help you with this. Or, you can ask friends and neighbors to help you. This is extremely helpful if you plan to be away for several months. A quick visit can ensure that all is ok with the house and that there is no damage to the property.
- Have all the mail stopped or have someone collect it every day. Accumulated mail is a dead giveaway for an empty house.
Keep reading the help4u.today blog for more interesting tips and tricks.