If you’re leaving your house or apartment unattended during an upcoming business trip, there are a few chores you should do before heading out the door. Experience has taught us that a simple checklist can be the key to ensure you return to your home in the same condition as your left it, without any surprises.
Use or remove food that will spoil.
In the week before you move into your new temporary housing, use up any food that will spoil while you are away. If you can’t get to it in time, donate it or throw it in the trash. Nobody wants to come home to a refrigerator full of rotten produce or unwanted bugs feasting on what you left out.
Turn the heat or A/C down or off.
Smart home technology makes this easier than ever, but even if you have a standard thermostat or climate control, you should turn it down while you’re away on a business trip. Depending on the season and where you live, you can turn them off completely to save energy.
Don’t forget hot water.
Many newer boilers have a vacation mode that can be used to suspend the usual program. Otherwise, turn it off or down to its minimum setting. Heating water requires a lot of energy, so turning it down can save serious cash — especially if you’ll be in corporate housing for a month or longer.
Unplug everything else.
We’re so used to having an automatic standby mode for our electronics that we rarely give them any thought. If you’re working away from home for a while, unplugging all electronic devices completely can save power and minimize fire risk, too.
Tell your neighbors.
If you are friendly with the people living around you, tell them you’re going away. Then they can keep an eye on your property for intruders, take in any mail or packages, and even turn lights on and off for you to make your absence seem less obvious from the street.
Think of all other house services.
If you need to be away for an extended period, it might be helpful to let your alarm company know the house will be empty for a while. The same applies for any regular deliveries or services you receive, such as newspaper or fresh food deliveries. You don’t want to make it obvious you’re not home, and having a pile of newspapers sitting on the front lawn is a sure sign that you’re not!
If you use corporate housing often for business trips, it’s a good idea to create a checklist for each room of your home. List all electrical items that need to be unplugged; the optimal away setting for A/C, heating, and hot water; and any other small preparation steps you might miss. While it might seem a little excessive, it’ll be one less thing to worry about while you’re away on a business trip.