HomeServe

House checks you need to know before going on holiday

Tired of the British weather being a little cold and wet? Decided to book yourself a week or two in the sun, or maybe a nice city break? Before you get caught up in the excitement of the sun cream and shades, you should take some time to think about whether your home is looked after while you’re away.

Save your energy

Man in red shirt near boiler, turning the temperature down on his heating system

If there isn’t going to be anyone in your house for the week, then you don’t need to pay to keep it warm. Check what the weather is going to be like at home while you’re away, and plan accordingly. If it’s likely to be mild then set your heating to come on for an hour or so to keep your boiler in shape.

If it’s looking like it’s going to be colder then set it for a few hours overnight. While you’re doing this, it’s also a good idea to check around your radiators for leaks. The last thing you want to come home to is a flooded house. Don’t forget to also check your taps, bath, shower and toilet too!

Unplug whatever you can, doing so will help to reduce your energy usage. It’s amazing how much power a TV on standby will use up.

Top tip: Items like your freezer cannot be unplugged; however, you may wish to leave a coin on top of a block of ice in there while you’re away. This will show you if you’ve had a power cut and your food has thawed and re-froze again, as the coin will now be in the ice.

Keep it safe

Make sure that important documents and valuables are put somewhere safe and out of view. For an extra precaution why not store them in a water proof container? Chances are nothing will ever happen, but if the worst does happen, you’ll be glad you did.

We know that prepping for your summer hol’s is almost a full time job’s in itself and amongst the planning and the packing, there seems to be little time to do much else.

However, now is a really good time to get a few of those niggling DIY job’s sorted - locks sticking? Window not quite shutting properly? These may seem fine to live with when you’re home, but when you’re on holiday these are the perfect opportunities for a burglar, so make sure you get them sorted well in advance of you going away.

Keep it secure

 Woman with red and black nail varnish locking front door

Locking up your home may seem like an obvious thing to do however; when rushing to catch a flight it’s amazing how many people forget. Make sure all windows and back doors are locked the night before to save worrying about them in the morning.

Top tip: Leave a note on your front door to remind you on the way out; and if you still think you’re going to spend your journey worrying, plan in advance for a family member or friend to go round and check once you’ve left (Just make sure they have a set of keys to lock up if you have forgotten!).

Other things you can do to protect your home while your away are:

  • Set your lights up on a timer – or have someone you trust to pop by to do this for you. This is one of the easiest ways of making it look like your home is occupied. Make sure you only set up what’s necessary to avoid wasting energy

  • Cancel all deliveries – nothing says 'empty home' more than 5 days worth of news papers on the front porch. Again if cancelling is more hassle, then just make sure someone pops round to take these in for you

  • Lock up - as well as your home, ensure that any other buildings on your property are locked, such as conservatories and sheds, and that all garden furniture and tools are also locked away.

Keep it clean

 Women in red cardigan loading dishwasher in a clean kitchen

Top of your priority list before going on holiday is never going to be cleaning, but after a long journey the last thing you want to come home to is a messy house.

Here’s a handy checklist of quick and easy tasks to do before you go away, to make coming home just as nice as being on holiday:

  • Empty the washing machine – clothes left in there for even just a few days will start to smell

  • Put the bins out – last night’s take away will fill your kitchen with an awful stink while you’re away... No thank you!

  • Change your bed sheets – there’s nothing better than coming home to a freshly made bed

  • Fill and empty the dishwasher - and wash anything you use the morning you go away; like damp clothes, used cups and dishes will not only start to smell, but be harder to clean if left for too long.

Do you have any tips? Tweet us @HomeServeUK with your top tips on what to do before your holiday!