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Have big travel plans this summer? Before you lock the door and say bon voyage, make sure you do these 10 essential things.

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10 Essential Things to Do Before Leaving for Your Summer Vacation!

Have big travel plans this summer? Before you lock the door and say bon voyage, make sure you do these 10 essential things.

 
Before leaving for vacation


You’ve booked your trip, researched the must-see attractions, recharged your electronics, packed your bags — and now you’re ready to lock the door and take off on your big vacation. (Ahhhh!)

But traveling smart starts with what you do before leaving for vacation. I always check these 10 things off my to-do list. They help ensure that I come home to find my place just as I left it.

1. Turn off your main water supply

Leaks happen. And they can happen while you’re away. Since nothing ruins the glow of a good vacation like returning to a flooded home, turn off your main water supply if you’re going to be gone for a week or more. (Heck, turn it off even if you’ll only be gone for a few days.)

If you forget and a leak does happen, your homeowners or renters insurance should cover that type of water damage.

2. Unplug all electronics

Yep, even if they’re not on, your electronics are energy vampires. Unplug your TV, microwave, toaster oven — anything that needs to be juiced — to save on your electricity bill.

As a plus, you’ll also help prevent an electrical fire.

3. Invest in a timer

Nothing screams “Come rob me!” like a house or apartment with its lights continually off.

Deter would-be burglars by putting timers on lights in different rooms. Set them to go on and off at various times throughout the night and no one will know you’re not actually there.

4. Stop mail service

Why let everyone (including prowlers) know that you’re not home?

If you don’t have a friend or friendly neighbor willing to pick up your mail, ask the USPS to hold it. They’ll keep all of your correspondences safe until you return, and the service is free.

5. Adjust your thermostat

If you live in a place where AC is a must during the summer months, adjust the thermostat a bit to save on your electricity bill. A good rule of thumb is to keep it a few degrees higher than normal. (So if you usually keep it at 70, change it to 75.)

By not turning off the AC completely, you’ll keep enough air circulating to control humidity and mold.

6. Pour baking soda down your drains and toilet

Baking soda is amazingly useful. And, when you combine it with vinegar, it freshens your drain (and helps clear clogs too). Pour about a cup down your drain and toilet to avoid playing “What’s that smell?” when you get home.

7. Seal open boxes of food and dried goods

You know the saying: When the cat’s away, the mice will play. But that doesn’t mean they need to play in your pantry.

By putting your dried goods (pasta, rice, nuts) and other foods in airtight containers, you’ll deter any critters from having a field day.

8. Clean your home

I know, I know. But your post-vacation self with thank you for taking care of the nitty-gritty.

At the very least, wipe down the surfaces, take out the garbage, and vacuum to prevent a critter invasion. And, if you want to be extra nice to Future You, put fresh sheets on your bed.

9. Freeze a simple, hearty meal

Chances are you’ve had a lot of dinners and lunches out while on vacation. And you’re probably not going to want to hit up the store and make dinner the moment you get back.

By freezing something easy and tasty — Bolognese sauce, soup, etc. — you’ll have a delicious dinner waiting for you when you return. And you’ll save yourself time, hassle, and money. (Hey, kinda like what we do for you at Esurance.)

10. Check up on your insurance

You knew this one was coming. Honestly, though, knowing what your insurance policies (car, home, renters) cover could save you both time and money if something does happen while you’re away

Did you know, for instance, that your U.S. car insurance policy is valid in Canada? Yep, your liability and medical expenses are covered if an accident happens up north. Also good to know: the stuff you take with you on vacation is covered by your homeowners or renters policy.

Bon voyage

Once you’ve checked these items off your list, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done your part to keep your home safe and sound. Which means you can get out there, have a great time, and enjoy your adventures.

Winter is here! Tips for preventing your water supply lines and pipes from freezing in your home or business this winter season

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Winter has finally arrived! Prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

Avoid Cooking Fires This Thanksgiving With These Few Tips.

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Avoid Cooking Fires This Thanksgiving With These Few Tips.

According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated $21 million in property loss. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving day fires in residential buildings is, by far, cooking.

Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe this Thanksgiving, when cooking.

Check the batteries in your smoke detectors.

A few days before Thanksgiving, make sure that all your smoke detectors are in working order. Press the test button on each smoke detector to see if the battery needs replacing.

 

Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher.

To prevent a kitchen fire disaster, check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher or acquire a fire extinguisher if you don’t have one. Also, have a big box of baking soda handy to deal with any small grease fires.

 

Clean your kitchen ahead of time.

Wipe surfaces clean of grease to prevent smoking and even fires. Also, make sure your kitchen is free of clutter and that all utensils are accessible. By keeping things organized and tidy, you’ll be more likely to avoid accidents while you are cooking.

 

Keep a close eye on food that is cooking.

Set a timer for anything you are cooking or baking. Stay in the kitchen or near by to watch over everything you have cooking. If you have to step away for more than a moment, ask a family member or friend to keep an eye on things for a few minutes.

 

Fry safely.

If you are going to fry your turkey this Thanksgiving, be extra careful. Never fry a frozen turkey and avoid using turkey fryers on wooden decks. Never leave the fryer unattended and remember that the oil is hot hours after the turkey is done cooking.

 

Remember, if you have a oil/grease fire…DO NOT USE WATER TO PUT THE FIRE OUT!… Use baking soda or a fire extinguisher. 

 

Thanksgiving Safety Tips to Prevent Kitchen and House Fires. by Daniel DeBlasio

How to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner Safely: Top 10 Tips. by Kari Sullivan

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