Lots of us at this time of year leave our property empty for a few days as we head home to see family and friends over the Christmas break.
But it’s at times like this – when the weather is poor and opportunist thieves are busiest – that it can all go horribly wrong in a domestic sense.
While we’re away our flat gets broken into, a pipe freezes and bursts or those loose tiles on the roof finally give up the ghost and let the rain in. In order to prevent, or at least take the sting out of such disasters, here’s a quick checklist to run through prior to leaving home for your festive break:
Leave an emergency number
A neighbour or friend who lives close needs to know where you are in case any repairs are needed while you’re away. If your home is broken into then the police will want to get in touch.
Check your contents insurance
Going hunting for official documents is probably the last thing you want to do in the run-up to Christmas but do check your contents insurance is up-to-date in case the property gets broken into while you’re away.
Get rid of perishables
Most of us do it – end up with food that we’re never going to manage to eat before going away. Give it away rather than let it fester in your fridge for days. Is there a homeless hostel nearby, or a neighbour who might appreciate it?
Switch off everything
Apart from the freezer, fridge and boiler, it’s really important to not just switch off but take out all plugs and electrical equipment. Never leave the TV on stand-by (this costs money as well as being a potential fire hazard).
Preparing your pets
If you’re leaving the cat to fend for itself for a couple of days (with the help of a neighbour popping in to feed her and empty the litter tray) make sure you remember to leave the key. Introduce them both too to ensure there are no nasty surprises when they meet face-to-face.
We’re sure you can think of other ‘must do’s’ – but these were some of the ones we’ve encountered in the past. Don’t get caught out yourself!