Summer is in full swing and you’ve probably got a great vacation planned, or maybe you’ve got weekend plans at the lake. However you spend your summer free time, it’s important to do these things before leaving your home unattended for any length of time, especially during the summer months. These tips are also helpful when leaving the cabin for the week ahead.

Before you Leave for Vacation

Turn off Water – Most of never bother to turn off the water main when we go away for short trips or weekend excursions. But water damage is the #1 cause of damage to the home when a homeowner is away from home. It’s not storm damage, robbery or even teenagers. Turn off the water if you’re going to be away from home for more than a day.

Repair Faucets – If you’re not going to turn off your water main while away, at least be sure to check and repair any leaky faucets. A small drip in the bathroom sink won’t do much damage – it may stain the porcelain depending on your water source – but it can increase your water bill if left untreated. Fix leaky faucets before leaving for vacation.

Stop Newspaper – If you still get the newspaper, remember to have them suspend service while you are away. Alternatively you can ask a neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail so your home doesn’t look empty and becomes an invitation to would-be burglars.

Stop Mail – Nothing screams an empty home like a mailbox stuffed with mail or packages left at the door. Suspend mail service if you go on vacation. For weekend jaunts it’s fine to ask the neighbors to grab your mail and newspapers, but for longer forays you’ll want to be confident there aren’t packages, magazines and bills strewn all over the front porch.

Clean Garbage Disposal – If you’d prefer not to come home to a stinky home, flush your garbage disposal with 1/2 cup distilled vinegar and hot water while letting run for a while.

Leave a Light On – If you’ve got a smart house you’re way ahead of the game and can control the lights from your phone while you’re away. If your home isn’t that high tech you can leave a light or two on so it appears as though someone is home.

Clean out the Fridge – Before you leave on vacation toss any food in the fridge that will spoil while you are away. Nothing is worse than coming home to refrigerator full of rotten food. Check dates on diary products too and toss before you leave. Leave an opened box of baking soda for added freshness.