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Question Of The Week

15 More Home Prep Tips for Extended Absence

To accompany Steven Merrill’s excellent article, “30 Ways to Prep Your Home for a Long -Term Trip”, we asked our readers, “What else do you do to prepare your home for extended periods of time?”

The following reader responses are a must-read for all truck camper owners.  Get your House Prep list out and a pen.  There are some very important tips here.

“Great article on steps to prepare!  Good question, too.  Depending on the weather, I either put my house plants outside or give them to a friend to try to keep them alive!

We put away most of the outdoor furniture, especially the cushions.  I put some of the yard art away as well.  It is nice to come home and not have to do it in the cold.  I plant hardy geraniums in the pots on my porch so the front of the house doesn’t look bare/vacant in the summer.  Last summer they survived three months with no care.

I also take down bird feeders so they don’t blow away.  I can rehang these when we get home.  I set out a bowl of odor ban in the basement as well as DampRid containers.  We stop our garbage pickup too, as well as put a seasonal hold on the Xfinity/Comcast cable service.

We not only let our friends know we’re leaving, but also people we do business with who drive by everyday.  When we’re on the road we call or text our neighbors to see if the place is still standing!” – Janet and Jim Manis, 2014 Ram 2500 HD, 2016 Travel Lite 960R Illusion

“Good question.  We use a mail service which needs to be set up.  We pay most of our bills online, but you still need to know about unexpected mail, especially if it has financial implications.

We get someone to cut our grass every other week.  If we are off for more than a month we think about canceling our cable TV service.  You can always start it up again when you get home at a teaser rate.  We also make sure we have a good supply of any medication we need, and a way to resupply on the road.” – Al Stebbins, 2016 GMC 2500 HD, 2005 Northern Lite 8-11Q

“Living in a northern climate, we not only turn off our well/water pump (we are on a well system) as suggested by the article, but we also drain our water system. This is fairly easy to do if you have a valve at the low point in the water system.

Related to this, I have considered putting RV antifreeze in the house sink traps and in the toilets. Draining the water system is not much work (15 minutes), and goes a long ways to assure that one won’t freeze up water pipes should your home lose heating in a cold climate.” – Firman Schiebout, 2004 Ford F-350, 2012 Northstar 9.5 Igloo U

“Excellent article, Steven!  I’m in a very warm part of the Southwest and we have all ready hit 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s not even July.

We fill ziplock bags with water and cover all the sinks and shower drains.  This will prevent the traps from drying out and possible infestation.

If you turn off the air conditioner, fill multiple large garbage buckets with water and let them stand in the bathtub / shower to help retain humidity.

If you turn off the water and leave on the power, shut off the water heaters at the breaker.  This is paramount!
If you have an irrigation system, hopefully solar, plumb a bypass so you can shut off the house.  If you leave the water on at the house, shut off the toilet(s).” – Mitch Johnson

“For those who still maintain a phone land line, you can forward your calls to your cell phone.” – Ed Striedl, 2015 Chevy Silverado, 2015 Arctic Fox 1140

“Greetings all!  This question of the week does cause anxiety for many, and rightly so.  We are included in that we go away for extended periods and leave the ranch unattended.  This has been a cause for concern and a discussion topic for us for some time.

For us the only way we are to get away and not worry is have someone take care of our place.  We have a second home on our property for someone to stay if we are going for a month or two.  For one or two weeks at a time we simply involve the neighbors to keep an eye on things and we do the same for them.  It’s not easy leaving your place, but none of us want our homes to be a prison.” – Wes Hargreaves, 2016 Ford F450, 2006 Snowbird 108DS

“Turn the heat to 50 degrees and turn the cooling to 80 degrees.  Lock all windows and alert your favorite neighbor to keep an eye on your house.  Return your trash can to its proper place, pick up all newspapers from the drive, pick up and hold mail, water the plants, and mow the lawn.  Assure all IR lights work.  Pay all utilities ahead.  Turn down the water heater.

Put your valuables where you can’t even find them and make a note with a hint.  Have obvious surveillance equipment on your house that can’t be compromised.  Make your house look like you never left for a road trip!” – Joe Zangerle, 2015 Ram 2500, Looking to purchase an 811

“I always clean the gutters and downspouts.  They fill with leaves, seeds, branches, and roof grit and can clog and cause water damage to the roof and leaks into the interior of the house.

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