The Must-Have Vacation-Prep Home Maintenance Checklist

BOWA’s experts provide essential tips for maintaining your home while you’re away

With many preparing for a busy schedule of summer travel, it’s important to also plan for the maintenance, upkeep, and safety of your home while you’re away. Our Vacation-Prep Home Maintenance Checklist is a great tool for ensuring things are properly managed back home, so you can worry less and focus your attention on making family memories. These tips can help you plan for important items, such as home temperature regulation, security, weather-related and electrical risks, water risks, and more, leaving you with peace of mind during your getaway.

Temperature Regulation

  • As a rule of thumb, in warmer climates, set your thermostat to 5 degrees warmer than your home’s regular temperature. In cooler climates, set your thermostat to 5 degrees cooler than your home’s regular temperature.
  • Mobile apps with temperature monitors can let you know in real-time if your home is too hot or cold and can allow you to adjust your thermostat right from your phone.
  • Ensure your HVAC system is working properly by having it inspected prior to your departure, especially if you haven’t kept up with seasonal maintenance recommendations.


  • Lock up your home! Ensure your front door, back door, garage door, the door between your garage and home, sliding doors, and pet doors are all locked using deadbolts when possible.
  • Lock your garage door manually, as electric garage door openers may be susceptible to scanners that can allow burglars access into your garage.
  • Avoid hiding keys under rocks, door mats, porches, and patios.
  • Install and program light timers that turn on indoor and outdoor lights, giving the appearance that someone is home during dark hours.
  • Inform your neighbors of your planned absence, as they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
  • If you generally keep your blinds open, leave them that way, as closed blinds for an extended period suggest that no one is home. Hide valuable possessions out of sight from any open windows.
  • Install security cameras and an alarm system to keep you in touch with your home and to monitor any unexpected activity while you’re away.
  • Contact the postal service to stop the mail, or have a neighbor collect your mail daily. Also make arrangements for your newspaper and packages that might arrive.

Weather and Electrical Risks

  • During seasons known for extreme weather, consider installing storm shutters to protect your windows. Making arrangements with a service or neighbor to install the shutters only if necessary is a way to protect your home while keeping your absence discreet.
  • Unplug all small appliances that aren’t a light source or part of your security system. Kitchen appliances, living room appliances, and office appliances should be unplugged to prevent damage during storms.

Water Risks

  • For extended periods of absence, turn off your water to prevent unexpected leaks or mildew/mold growth. Before leaving, let your faucets run dry and allow your toilets to empty from water by flushing them after turning off your house’s water supply. Only leave your water turned on if your home is reliant on water, such as for steam radiators or a sprinkler system.
  • Set your water heater to “vacation mode” or adjust it to the lowest level.
  • Ensure your sump pump and the backup battery, if applicable, is working properly.

Indoor Maintenance

  • Empty your refrigerator of perishable items.
  • Many of today’s refrigerators can be monitored via the Internet, but if yours isn’t and you’re concerned about power outages and food spoilage, a trick is to place a bowl of ice cubes on the freezer shelf. If the cubes appear to have melted when you return, this signifies a power outage occurred and perishable items should be disposed of.
  • Leave your kitchen clean by emptying the garbage, cleaning dirty dishes, wiping down counters, and cleaning the garbage disposal with vinegar.
  • Open all interior doors between rooms to allow air to circulate better throughout your home.
  • Check the batteries in your smoke detectors to ensure they’re working properly.

Outdoor Maintenance

  • Schedule upkeep for your lawn and landscaping, such as mowing the grass and watering plants, to give the appearance that someone is home.
  • Clean your gutters and rain spouts to prepare for heavy rainfall. Ensure dead trees are removed to protect your home from fallen tree damage.

Away, By BOWA℠

Wherever your travels may take you this summer, preparing your home for your time away is the best way to ensure your home’s protection and peak functioning. If you’re considering a renovation, there’s no need to put off the planning while you’re out of the area. Our Away, By BOWA℠ program offers clients project feasibility, ease of project planning and designing, construction progress updates and home management from anywhere around the world. Start the conversation with a BOWA expert to learn more about our proprietary process for ensuring residential renovation success while you’re away.

Wishing you safe and happy travels this summer!