A lot can happen to your vacation home while you’re away. Use our vacation home maintenance checklist to secure your home from unexpected damages when you arrive and before you leave for the season.
Every home is different. Use this checklist as a guide, and always add any tasks that are specific to your home. This checklist assumes you’re opening the home for the spring and closing it for the winter season.
Checklist for Opening Up Vacation Home
The excitement of a vacation distracts us from obvious problems around the house that could lead to headaches. Open your vacation home with this list to avoid surprises so the rest of your stay will go smoothly and the house is in great shape next season.
- Turn the water back on.
- Make sure all the spigots and faucets are open. Then turn the water on slowly; water rushing quickly into empty pipes can damage fixtures or pipe fittings.
- Turn on the water heater.
- Turn on the refrigerator.
- Empty mouse or pest traps.
- Adjust the thermostat.
- Change your HVAC air filters.
- Refill the water softener with salt.
- Dust and clean the house thoroughly.
- Clean the windows.
- Change burned-out light bulbs.
- Inspect landscaping for water erosion, damaged trees, pest problems and soil nutrition deficiencies.
- Clean the landscaping.
- Mow the grass, power wash hardscapes and prune bushes and trees.
- Return patio furniture, hammocks and other items to their places outside.
- Inspect soffits, patios and your home’s exterior for mold, rotting wood, peeling paint and other damage.
- Set up the grill
Checklist for Closing up a Vacation Home
Batten down the hatches and prepare your vacation home before you leave for the season. All good things come to an end.
Make sure the house is in great shape next spring by following the steps below:
- Empty your refrigerator, unplug it and prop open the door.
- Remove food from the pantry, or ensure it’s in mice/insect-proof storage containers.
- Clean ashes out of the fireplace, close the chimney flue.
- Strip the bedsheets, or leave fresh sheets on all the beds.
- Ask your waste management company to hold service until next season.
- Ask your local post office to forward mail to your home address.
- Check the operation of the sump pump and the battery backup if necessary.
- Clean storm drains.
- Empty all the trash bins.
- Unplug phantom power loads such as TVs, kitchen appliances, power strips and internet routers.
- Turn off the main water supply.
- Open all the faucets, showers and hose bibs in your home to drain the pipes after the main valve is shut off. This is most important in climates that freeze but also a safe choice in any home.
- Turn off the water heater – unplug it if it’s electric; set it to vacation mode if it’s gas.
- Set the thermostat to vacation mode, or set it to 50 degrees for heat and 80 degrees for AC.
- Turn off all the lights, close the shades/drapes.
- Set any water alarms, light timers, cameras or home-away devices.
- Set mouse or pest traps, if desired.
- Lock all the doors and windows.
- Prepare the landscaping.
- Fertilize, prune, weed and clean the area to prepare for winter. If there may be heavy snow or wind, wrap delicate trees or bushes with burlap or twine to prevent damage.
- Bring everything inside: hammocks, patio furniture, flags, chair cushions, kayaks, paddle boats, SUPS, lawn decorations and more.
- Cover the grill and disconnect the propane.
- Drain and store garden hoses.
- Install storm windows if you have them.
Peace of Mind While You’re Away
You can only do so much to protect your home while you’re away. Fortunately, technology makes it even easier to leave a home unoccupied for months at a time.
Use these “smart home” tips for extra peace of mind while you’re away:
- Set a temperature alarm to automatically call your phone when the temperature changes, signaling your heat or AC went out. This alarm can be a built-in feature on your thermostat or plugged into a landline telephone.
- Take advantage of remote cameras that can automatically notify you of movement or allow you to check on the property remotely after a big storm.
- Use smart locks to lock and unlock your vacation home remotely.
Helping Hands When You Need Them
Neighborly’s team of home service professionals are ready to help when you need it. Give the experts below a call or request service online for service you can trust:
- Mosquito Joe can take care of all your pest control needs while you’re visiting.
- Molly Maid’s cleaning services can take care of the cleaning before you arrive to your vacation home and also while you’re there, giving you more time to relax.
- You can trust The Grounds Guys for reliable landscaping services to keep your vacation property looking great all year long.
- Give Window Genie a call to clean the insides and outsides of your windows for a clear view outside!
Professional Handyman Services
If you need help opening or closing your vacation home or fixing damage, just call Mr. Handyman. Our expert repairmen will keep your vacation home in great shape. We can power wash decks, repair drywall from a water leak or take care of any home maintenance tasks for you so you can enjoy your vacation! Just give us a call, or request an appointment online.