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Got a heavy case of Cabin Fever? Thinking about beating these winter-time blues with a sunny getaway? Before you leave, there are ways to prepare your house so that it is protected while you are away.

Whatever time of year you are leaving, it is always a great idea to:

  • Have newspaper and mail stopped or regularly picked up by a trusted neighbor.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home—make sure a neighbor knows where the water main shut-off is located in the event of a broken pipe.
  • Set timers on interior lights to deter burglars—and unplug TVs, computers, and appliances susceptible to lightning and power surges.
  • Advise your alarm company and local police if you will be gone for an extended vacation.
  • Take jewelry and valuable papers to a safe deposit box.
  • Turn off water valves to your washing machine, icemaker, and dishwasher.
  • Arrange for lawn care while you are away (seasonal).

If you are going to be away from your home during colder weather, there are a few other things that you should be attentive to before you leave:

  • Set the heat in your home to no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius).
  • Allow hot and cold water to drip from faucets near outside walls.
  • Keep downspouts and gutters clear of debris and disconnect all garden hoses.
  • Locate and insulate pipes most susceptible to freezing (typically those near outer walls, in crawl spaces, and in the attic are the most vulnerable).
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach uninsulated pipes under sinks and where appliances are near exterior walls.
  • Shut off and drain the water system in your home (except indoor sprinkler systems) before an extended vacation.
  • Consider installing a whole house water leak detection system to help prevent or reduce water damage resulting from a plumbing leak.

Lastly, check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly. If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow).

State Farm® believes this information is reliable and accurate. We cannot, however, guarantee the performance of all items demonstrated or described in all situations. Always consult an experienced contractor (like Home Evolutions) or other expert to determine the best application of these ideas or products in your home.

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Read more: Keeping Your Home Protected While on Vacation