Going on vacation this summer? Make sure you're ready for your home to be unattended.
Three Days Before
-Suspend mail and newspaper delivery. Contact the post office (usps.com) to hold your mail. Or have a trusted neighbor collect mail, packages and newspapers while you're away so they don't accumulate at the front door, a sure sign you're not home.
-Provide friends and neighbors with itinerary and relevant phone numbers and the names of those who have keys, etc. to enter your home.
One Day Before
-Set timers. To keep your house from sitting dark all evening, install plug-in timers ($4 to $10 each at home-improvement stores) on lamps in several rooms. Set them to turn on and off at different times. Consider putting a radio and a television on timers, too.
-Discard perishables. Don't return to a smelly refrigerator.
-Adjust the refrigerator temperature. Make sure the thermostat isn't on the supercool setting. This will keep the refrigerator from blowing a circuit while you're away.
Three Hours Before
-Adjust shades and blinds. Leave them partially open so your house looks lived-in.
-Leave a car in the driveway (if you have one). If you're talking yours with you, ask a neighbor to park their car there while you're away.
-Set the air-conditioner. If you have central air-conditioning, raise your thermostat so that it's set about 10 degrees below the average outside temperature. But don't turn it off. Without the help of air-conditioning, mold and mildew can develop in houses in humid climates.