Protecting Your Vacation Home and Rental Properties
Did you know that water damage claims are the second most frequent homeowners insurance claims filed on average?* Before taking off for extended periods of time, prepare and safeguard your home so you don’t return to a wet, expensive mess.
Get one last good look at your property before it’s out of sight and out of mind! Walk the perimeter, making sure that nothing is leaking. Check your home for leaks, looking at the pipes under all sinks, and check your water heater for cracks and rust. If the water heater is in good condition, turn the thermostat to vacation on a gas water heater. On an electric water heater, simply turn the breaker off at your main electrical breaker box, to avoid wasting energy.
Inspect the hoses that connect to major appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators. Make sure there are no kinks; replace any old or damaged hoses.
Examine your sump pump and check that it is in good condition and clear of debris by filling the sump pit and running the pump. Listen to the motor for strange sounds and watch that the water is going outside. Install a battery-powered backup source in case there is a power outage while you are gone.
If you have an indoor spa sitting dormant for multiple months, it’s a good idea to drain the water out completely. This will ensure the hot tub doesn’t require any maintenance while you’re gone, as well as prevent any leaks and electrical malfunctions.
We often think of high humidity in our homes as a muggy or unpleasant feeling, but it can pose serious risks to the health of your home. Humidity in your property should be between 30 and 50 percent, except in specialized facilities. Humidity may be too high if you observe stains on ceilings and walls, condensation on windows, and musty smells. Frequently dry all surfaces where moisture collects, including the dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, hot water heater and air conditioning units. Consider a product like WallyHome to help you detect when humidity is out of range.
Hiring a qualified inspector and ask someone you trust to check your house periodically while you are gone will ensure your property stays free from water damage.
They should also know where the water main is located in case a pipe leaks or bursts. The water main shut-off valve is usually in a home’s basement, garage or outdoors near the foundation.
Leave the following information with them:
- Your cell phone number and the phone number of where you are staying
- The contact information for your insurance agent.
- The phone number of a person who you would allow to make decisions for you in your absence.
Implementing a solid maintenance program can prevent your property from taking on water damage.