Getting ready to take a vacation before summer ends? If you're going to be gone for a while, whether summer or some other season, you should take important safety steps to make sure that your home and belongings are secure while you are gone. Here are a few tips:
Before you leave, shut off the main water valve that connects to the rest of the house. In the winter, water pipes can freeze and burst if the heat goes out or if they're located in exposed areas. In other seasons, extreme fluctuations in water pressure can cause breaks. It's safest just to turn off the water if nobody's going to be around using it.
If you are going to be gone over the winter, leave the heat on, set to about 58 F. Keeping the house slightly heated will prevent the problems of mildew or mold growing, or freezing pipes and plaster. In the summer, shut down the air conditioner to save money while you're gone, unless you have houseplants or electronics that are sensitive to high temperatures. If you're concerned about moisture building up in your home, turn the A/C up to 82 or so, just to keep the equipment cycling occasionally. Also, seriously consider scheduling a preventative maintenance check on your HVAC system before you leave; it will give you peace of mind, while preventing future problems.
Gas Water Heater
It's not necessary to shut off your water heater completely. If you check, your heater should have a "vacation" setting. This turns down the heat, but doesn't require you to shut off the pilot light.
Unplug all unnecessary electrical appliances, especially items such as computers or televisions. This will keep them from being damaged in the case of an electrical storm or power outage. Keep the refrigerator on, but clean it out before you leave.
For more ideas on home protection, and to install or maintain an HVAC system before you leave on your vacation, contact Comfort Services. We can help Columbia area residents with all of their heating and air conditioning needs.