A home expert shares top tips for a worry-free vacation

(BPT) – When it’s time to embark on your well-deserved getaway, the last thing you want is to worry about the things that could go wrong at your unattended house.

It’s pretty common to wonder if everything is OK while you’re on vacation, says Chip Wade, an HGTV expert. Especially since there are plenty of hair-raising tales out there of people discovering a bad situation awaits them at home, from burst water pipes to a break-in.

“If you have this nagging thought following you around that maybe you forgot to lock the back door before you left, that can really mess up your head space,” Wade says. “And that’s not good, especially since the point of vacation is to forget your cares and enjoy yourself.”

Before you go, eliminate worry from your itinerary and ensure a happy homecoming by following this pre-vacation checklist from Wade.

Stop the mail: “When fliers, deliveries and bills with sensitive personal information pile up in your mailbox, you may as well post a sign in your front yard that your house is unoccupied,” Wade says. “Trust, me, burglars live for these clear-cut signs.” This is a simple fix. Just fill out a quick online form with the U.S. Postal Service, and they’ll hold your mail until after you return. It’s also a good idea to check your inbox just to make sure there aren’t any lingering online orders set to arrive while you’re gone.

Tidy up: Even in your pre-vacation rush to get ready, leave some time for a quick cleanup, because it always feels good to come home to a clean and orderly house. That means getting everyone in the family to pick up and put away. Also, be sure to go through your fridge and cupboards so you can toss any items that are likely to spoil so you can avoid being greeted by unpleasant odors.

Turn off the water: It happens so often, Wade says, that it feels like vacation is something that activates Murphy’s law of homeownership: Somewhere in the house, a pipe springs a leak. After many days of undetected dripping, streaming or gushing, it can add up to major damage to anything in the water’s path: cabinets, floors, ceilings, furniture, drywall. Play it safe and before you go, turn off the water main.

Adjust the thermostat: When no one’s home, there’s no need to keep the thermostat set to your favorite at-home setting. At the same time, you don’t want high temperatures from a heat wave to damage plants or overwork your refrigerator. In the summer, set the thermostat to 85 degrees. It’s also helpful to own a programmable thermostat like the York Affinity Hx Touch-Screen Thermostat, Wade says, because you can adjust the setting from your mobile device from anywhere in the world. Plus, you can remotely monitor your system for alerts, so if something goes wrong, you’re still in control even when you’re not around.

Turn to a friend: Not every situation calls for a house-sitter, but just knowing that someone has an eye on the place lends tremendous peace of mind. Enlist a friend or trusted neighbor to swing by your house each day, checking the doors and collecting any fliers or packages left behind for safekeeping.

“To make sure you have a worry-free vacation, make a list, and check it twice,” Wade says. “And once your friend does that first check-in, just let your worries go. After all, if something really goes wrong, they will let you know.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the York Affinity Hx Touch-Screen Thermostat, visit York.com.