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OldSoldier
post Aug 29 2006, 09:10 AM
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We are preparing for our first extended (4 week+) tour on the road to the Pacific Northwest.

I was wondering what you all do to prepare the house you will leave behind while you are gone. We live in southern AZ and don't expect any critical weather issues while gone (no hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.) We are taking our dogs with us, but leaving our cats in the capable hands of a pet sitter who lives across the street from us.

Surely would appreciate any suggestions that you all might have that will ease our minds about leaving the house behind for a month.

Thanks in advance.


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Cheryl Fuller
post Aug 29 2006, 09:39 AM
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QUOTE(OldSoldier @ Aug 29 2006, 08:10 AM) *
We are preparing for our first extended (4 week+) tour on the road to the Pacific Northwest.

I was wondering what you all do to prepare the house you will leave behind while you are gone. We live in southern AZ and don't expect any critical weather issues while gone (no hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.) We are taking our dogs with us, but leaving our cats in the capable hands of a pet sitter who lives across the street from us.

Surely would appreciate any suggestions that you all might have that will ease our minds about leaving the house behind for a month.

Thanks in advance.




When we are going to be gone for an extended period, we normally unplug the microwave and computer to protect against power surges or lightening strikes (which are common here). We also have our neighbor take in the mail and newspapers. I know some people just stop those services but we think the fewer people who know your home is vacant for a long period, the better. Sometimes, he even puts one of his trash cans in front of our house on trash day. Our sons live nearby, so they routinely come by and mow the grass and switch whatever interior lights are left on. We also leave a radio playing inside the house so if anyone were to break in, they would hear noise. We do not inform the alarm company that we will be gone - again, we do try to keep ourselves off lists that state we are away from our residence. They do have my cell phone number and if they could not reach us at home, they would call that number and at that time I would make them aware that it was not us that triggered the alarm.


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Beastdriver
post Aug 29 2006, 11:23 AM
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I would add two suggestions to Cheryl's excellent ideas. One, I would pull the circuit breaker on the hot water heater. You don't need to be paying for that while you are gone and, two, I would suggest you turn off the water, if at all possible. at least to the washer. Washer hoses are prone to burst after a few years, and you have a real mess when they do. We shut off all water, but our sprinkler system in on a well. You may not be able to do that, but at least shut off the hoses to the washer.
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mastercraft
post Aug 29 2006, 11:43 AM
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To add to the previous comments, we have purchased several of the indoor timers that we put on lamps in the house. I have them set to go on at various times to simulate someone in the house. Our neighbors have been great as far as watching the house, getting the mail and taking our trash out.
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Texasrvers
post Aug 29 2006, 01:13 PM
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Leaving your cats behindóoh no, wonít they get lonely? We take our 2 with us, but then we donít have any dogs right now.

Some other people posted while I was writing this, so please excuse the duplication. Everything they have said is good. They also mentioned some things that we will start doing.

You can do a lot or a little to your house. We tend to overdo, but fortunately we have not had any major trouble while weíve been gone. Here are some of the things we have done:

Donít close all the curtains and blinds unless this is how you normally keep your house. It should still look ďlived in.Ē

Let local police know you will be gone. (But remember to tell them about the pet sitter or you may have to pay his/her bail.)

Donít have a message on your answering machine that says you are away from home.

Stop mail and newspapers or have neighbor get them.

Set timers to turn on and off lights at the same times you normally would.

Unless someone is watering your plants, turn off the water at the street just in case a pipe decides to break while youíre gone. (This is more likely in cold weather, but it can happen anytime.)

We set outdoor water timers and use a wicking system to water indoor plants.

Set the temperature higher or lower. (We set at 80 degrees in the warm months and 50 in the winter.)

Clean out any items in the refrigerator that might spoil before you return.

Put bars or sliding locks on patio doors and windows so that they canít be opened even if unlocked.

Hide any valuables that you donít take with you. (You obviously canít put away everything, but we do hide jewelry and some hunting rifles. We also try not to have computers and other small electronic equipment visible through the windows.)

Lastly donít worry and HAVE FUN on your trip.
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John Blue
post Aug 29 2006, 08:12 PM
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Old Soldier,

We do everything per the other post and never have any trouble that you can stop. Things will go wrong at times but most can be fixed as soon as you return home. We have been on the road three months at the time and had no problems. Next overnight trip, we get a call that a light is out. Main thing is to set up a short check list so you will not forget any items on list. Have fun in your travels.


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OldSoldier
post Aug 30 2006, 09:59 AM
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Thanks all for your input. I've accumulated the recommendations into an "out the door" checklist already stickied to the door.

Thanks all. biggrin.gif


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Cheryl
post Aug 30 2006, 08:28 PM
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You could also have somebody cut your grass or shovel your walk depending on the season.
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OldSoldier
post Aug 31 2006, 07:37 PM
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Shovel the sidewalk? "yuck!!!" That's why I moved to Arizona. biggrin.gif

Father-in-law will check the house and mow if necessary. Once the monsoons end at the end of this month, grass also stops growing. We mow 3 times a year whether or not we need to.

Thanks to all who have made suggestions, have added a lot of what you all have mentioned to my "out the door" list.

Thanks again.

smile.gif


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Cheryl
post Aug 31 2006, 08:15 PM
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That was just a generic suggestion for anybody. We don't get to travel in the winter (yet) so it's just the grass we have to think about.
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OldSoldier
post Aug 31 2006, 10:23 PM
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I was teasing. Left my last snow shovel, stuck in the grass of my Mass. home in 1993 with a sign on it for any one who wanted the shovel.

"Take it----I'll never need it again. Arizona BOUND"

tongue.gif biggrin.gif "YEA!!!!"

Not teasing you about being northern bound. smile.gif


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Cheryl
post Sep 1 2006, 03:17 PM
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QUOTE
I was teasing.


I got that.

I was serious though, that the advice could be helpful to some lucky people that don't have to work ohmy.gif and can travel all winter away from the snow, only visiting for a short time. I like a little snow, especially at Christmas, but not too much. Although the snow days when school is cancelled are great, we have to pay for them by going longer into June.

About your leaving your shovel with a for free sign, I read an email once about a person trying to give something away with no takers. Finally he put up a sign "for sale, $20". The next day, someone had stolen the item!
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Full Timers
post Sep 18 2006, 01:30 PM
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QUOTE(OldSoldier @ Aug 29 2006, 11:10 AM) *

We are preparing for our first extended (4 week+) tour on the road to the Pacific Northwest.

I was wondering what you all do to prepare the house you will leave behind while you are gone. We live in southern AZ and don't expect any critical weather issues while gone (no hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.) We are taking our dogs with us, but leaving our cats in the capable hands of a pet sitter who lives across the street from us.

Surely would appreciate any suggestions that you all might have that will ease our minds about leaving the house behind for a month.

Thanks in advance.


You have some good ideas. Also if you have call forwarding you might have you calls forwarded to your cell phone. rolleyes.gif
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boater
post Sep 18 2006, 09:56 PM
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I bought a fairly inexpensive timer at radio shack and some switches that can control lights. We set several lights on in the house from these timers all year round, so you never know if we are home or not. Also have several outside flood lights that come on on motion sensors and a couple that come on a photocell at dark.
Very important get dead bolts that are keyed on both inside and outside for every door. Makes it much harder to get in and out. Also we bought inexpensive screw sets that go thru buoth sasles of the window, so they cant be opened easily( this came from locaql police.)

other than that shut off the washer hoses( both hot and cold( they make a big mess if they burst) and it happens. also the hot water heater, computer, tv etc
last thing best to put your valuable papers- home insurance, car titles, wills,jewelry etc in a saety deposit box. Think ofd what you might need if there were a firex, and you lost house. Good idea to haver pictures of your home interior for insurance.
sorry this got long winded but we were bnroken into several years ago, so i guess im kind of a nut now.
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Cheryl Fuller
post Sep 19 2006, 12:20 AM
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You have some good ideas. Also if you have call forwarding you might have you calls forwarded to your cell phone. rolleyes.gif
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Downside to that is that you will be wasting your minutes with all of the junk calls you will be getting. We are on the National Do Not Call list,but that does not stop all the calls we get for political reasons, charities, surveys, etc. which are exempt from those lists...


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