ROANOKE – You may be ready for a long vacation but your home may not be. Many people get caught up in packing and planning for a trip but forget to prep the house for their absence.
Ted Puzio, the owner of Southern Trust Home Services in Roanoke says people in the Roanoke Valley have already experienced plumbing or heating and air malfunctions while they are away, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
Puzio recommends turning off your main water valve while you're away.
“Flooding is probably the biggest issue I see, and people have that if they are gone for a week or two and there is just a little leak or overflow of the toilet on a multi-level home they can see some major problems happen,” Puzio said.
He says to always turn the water heater to "vacation mode" to save on electricity and prevent problems.
Puzio offers these tips to help Roanoke residents prepare their home to be empty for a week or more:
1. Turn off water main valve – The number one cause of damage to homes while out of town is from water. A small leak can cause extensive damage to a home if it leaks for more than one day. The best thing to do to prevent these occurrences is to turn water off at the main valve.
2. Turn Air Conditioning up – Air conditioning systems use a significant amount of energy to keep the home cool in the summer months. It is important to set the thermostat up 10 degrees warmer than normal before leaving the home vacant to save money on the energy bill.
3. Flush garbage disposal – To prevent returning home to odors, run a ½ cup of vinegar and warm water down the disposal while it is running. This will clean out any excess residue and ensure there are no unpleasant odors when homeowners return.
4. Set water heater to vacation mode – Water heaters continue to keep working and maintain the hot water inside the unit, even when the homeowners are not home. Many water heaters have vacation mode setting that you can adjust the system. If the unit does not have vacation mode, turn the temperature of the water down, so it will save energy while the homeowner is away.
5. Notify the alarm company – If the home is equipped with an alarm system, Puzio recommends alerting the alarm company that the residence will be vacant. If the alarm system is triggered, the security company will dispatch officers immediately instead of calling the home first.
For Roanoke residents who would like help and suggestions for preparing their homes for vacation, the professionals at Southern Trust Home Services, are ready to assist. For more information, please call 540-343-4348 or visit www.southerntrusthomeservices.com.