Taking a Winter Break? Fine, but Secure Your Home
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Taking a Winter Break? Fine, but Secure Your Home


Are you packing up to take a well deserved winter break vacation? In your excitement, don’t forget to prepare your house for your absence. While you may be tempted to turn off your furnace, it’s better to set it at 55-60 degrees. This will prevent water pipes from freezing in your absence, plus it will protect sensitive furniture and fixtures, and pets and plants if you have them.

In addition to setting back your thermostat, follow these safety tips to make sure your home is in tip-top shape:

  • Get a friend, neighbor or relative to do a daily check of your home, even if you don’t have plants or pets to take care of. Leave a list of contact numbers, including your HVAC contractor, local police and the fire department.
  • Contact your post office to hold your mail. If you are expecting packages or have a newspaper delivery, ask your neighbors to collect them for you. If these things start building up on your front porch, it’s an invitation to thieves.
  • Put your living room and bedroom lights on timers to make it look like someone is home. Also, if you don’t already have it, consider installing motion detector lighting. It eliminates the ability for thieves to sneak up on your home.
  • You can also put a radio or television on a timer to create sound inside your home. Thieves do not want a confrontation and usually won’t enter a home where sounds are present. Your furnace occasionally kicking on also will help in this regard.
  • Quality, dead-bolt locks are essential. Replacing the standard strike plate screws with 3-inch wood screws can make it much harder for a door to be kicked in.
  • Shut off your main water valve or turn off your well pump. Open a tap for 15 seconds to release any pressure build-up in the pipes. This will prevent water leaks while you’re gone.
  • If you have a conventional storage tank water heater, turn it off or put it on “vacation” mode. There is no need to have standby hot water if you aren’t there to use it.

For more winter break tips, please contact us at (503) 266-1249, Portland’s trusted HVAC team.

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