If you have plans to leave your home for an extended period of time, you must close your house properly before you leave. Whether you are preparing to be away for several months from a cottage that you only use for specific seasons, or you want to secure your primary home while you travel, the investment in time and money that you put into closing your house properly will save you money, help prevent break-ins, protect your possessions and safeguard your utilities.
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Shut off any propane or natural gas or propane valves. This includes the valves where the gas enters the house as well as the valves to the individual gas appliances, such as space heaters, stoves and water heaters.
Unplug all electrical and electronic appliances. Empty the fridge and prop the door open to prevent mold from forming. Make sure that you drain the ice-maker hose.
Store all outside patio furniture and tools inside the house.
Prune trees with overhanging branches that could fall on your house in a high windstorm.
Drain the plumbing system. Turn off the water to the house at the main line. Attach a hose to the main plumbing system's drain valve and open the drain. Drain the water-heater tank in the same manner (turn the electricity or gas off before beginning to drain the tank). Open all faucets in the house and flush the toilets to empty the plumbing lines. Pour a cup of nontoxic antifreeze into every drain so that the traps won’t freeze. Insulate the water pipes.
Stop mail and newspaper delivery to the house.
Close and lock all windows and doors. Examine the entrance to the basement and around the home’s foundations to make sure that no holes exist where animals can burrow into or under your house.
Give the house key to a trusted neighbor. Ensure that the neighbor has your contact information to get in touch with you in case of need.