Closing Up a Home for the Summer

This time of year many Tucson area homeowners begin the process of packing up belongings and returning to their summer homes in cooler climates. However, packing your belongings is just the start of a longer list of items which should be done around your home to make sure it’s well taken care of when you return in the Fall. Keep in mind these recommendations below are simply suggestions and quite general in nature. Different homes have various types of systems which may need particular care, so check with manufacturers or specialists as needed. Some of the items below may need a little more advance preparation than others too.  Without further ado here is our list of reminders to consider:

  • Arrange for mail, newspapers, and any regular deliveries to be stopped or forwarded to your summer residence.
  • Contact utility providers like telephone, cable/satellite TV, trash, water, etc. and put your service on hold or some utility companies have seasonal/vacation programs.
  • Check with your local police department to see if they offer any watch programs (Oro Valley notably does offer their Darkhouse Program – Contact @ 520-229-5080).
  • Place your phone on call forwarding if you have a landline within the home.
  • If you don’t have a landscaper then do a good pruning before leaving on vacation so the yard isn’t overgrown on your return.  Also spray pre-emergent to limit weeds.
  • Houseplants should be given to neighbors or take them on the trip to your summer home.  Without attention they likely won’t be alive if left inside.
  • Either take valuables with you or put them away in a safe deposit box while you’re gone for the summer.
  • Cover pools and hot tubs as applicable and make sure your filtering system is still running but heating systems can be shut off.  Make sure a service will look after it.
  • Take in all patio furniture that is plastic, wood, or has cloth cushions to keep it from the damaging sunshine.  Typically a good storage spot would be your garage.
  • Go through your pantry & refrigerator before leaving.  Throw away anything that will spoil and seal up tightly other products to keep moisture and bugs from getting in.
  • If you’re leaving your refrigerator on during the summer, then make sure it’s not too empty as that does draw more energy to cool an empty refrigerator.  Turn off the icemaker too and empty the ice tray.  If you’re turning off the refrigerator then empty it out and open the doors to promote circulation.
  • Replace batteries in fire alarms, thermostats, and other household appliances that are important just in case.
  • Check soft water systems for appropriate instructions on extended departures from the home.  At the least make sure you’re supplies are stockpiled.
  • You can most likely turn off the main water valve leading into your house as long as no appliances need water inside and the drip irrigation system still receives water.
  • If you store a vehicle in the garage go ahead and disconnect the battery or otherwise you could get a battery tender.
  • It’s a good idea to keep your pest service coming for exterior service and to check for any signs of pack rats or termites.
  • Turn the A/C up to whatever level you feel comfortable, but we don’t recommend going higher than 85 degrees if possible.
  • Unplug appliances, TVs, computers, and any other electronics that don’t need to be used over the summer.  This will reduce electric bills and help prevent damage from any power surges that might occur thanks to our monsoon lightning storms.
  • You can likely turn off natural gas to the home unless any systems in your particular home will need it over summer.
  • Shut off or put your water heater on the lowest setting, often called vacation mode.
  • Close all of your blinds and drapes to keep the heat out of your home and protect furniture from being damaged by the sunlight.
  • Turn off your ceiling fans throughout the home and on any patios.
  • Open doors throughout the home to help facilitate air flow.
  • Ask a neighbor, friend, or hire a service to come check on the interior of the house periodically.
  • Do a detailed walk through your home to check for other systems or appliances that might need attention while you’re gone.  Homes vary and may have unique items that need more attention when you’re not there or in hotter temperatures.

Hopefully these recommendations help in your checklist of items to do before leaving for the summer. At least it may spur your thought process to think through your particular situation and what’s relevant in your household. Some of these items may not apply as well so use your own filter. Plus, some people leave for a shorter period of time like 3 months while others leave for 6+ months so situations will vary. Please let us know if you have any questions and we hope those folks leaving for the summer have a wonderful time.

Stephen Woodall
REALTOR, GRI @ Long Realty Company

Stephen has made real estate his full-time career and passion since 2008, primarily specializing in the Foothills & the Northwest Tucson areas of Oro Valley and Marana. He is a multi-million dollar producer, representing both sellers & buyers. Stephen has tremendous experience in new home sales, listing & selling primary residences, listing & selling vacant land, listing & selling luxury homes, investment properties, rentals, and real estate development parcels.


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