Keep Your Appliances in Tip-Top Condition While on Vacation

Time: 2-3 hours

Sunshine, beach balls and days off from work or school — there is no better time to go on a family vacation than summertime. While you’re having fun in the sun, your unused appliances become more susceptible to malfunction, inefficiency, and wear-and-tear damage. Prep them to add years to their lives and cash to your wallet.

What's in it for you?

  • More efficient appliances
  • Increased appliance lifespan
  • Decreased risk of an appliance malfunction

Keep Your Appliances In Great Shape While on Vacation

  1. Deodorize the fridge. First, preserve your food — take it out of the fridge and store it in a cooler. Turn your (now empty) fridge to the lowest setting and open all the doors to air it out. Add a dash of baking soda (or a box) in each fridge container to stop mold from growing while you’re gone. Don’t forget to put your food back in the fridge and turn it to its normal setting so nothing spoils.

  2. Clean the dishwasher. Run an empty dishwasher cycle but swap the soap for a dishwasher cleaning solution (check your local hardware store for this). Now that the stains and clogs are gone, leave the door open and let the dishwasher dry out. Once it’s dry, add a little baking soda to a small container, place it in the bottom of the dishwasher, and shut the door to keep it fresh all summer long (and after too).

  3. Clean your washing machine. Like with the dishwasher, you need to run your washing machine at full cycle without any clothes. Just pour some washing machine cleaning fluid in the drum before it runs.

  4. Unplug appliances. Go through your home and find appliances that don't need need to be plugged in while you’re away. (We doubt you’ll be making toast or watching TV while you're out, so unplug your toaster and TV.) Don't forget the microwave – you can always reprogram the clock when you get home.

  5. Monitor your water heater. Turn your gas water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent a fire while you’re away (not good). You can also turn the control knob to pilot mode, which is designed to keep your pilot light on without lighting the heater. Warning: Never turn off your water heater while you're gone — you’ll have to call a professional to get it running again.

  6. Set a moderate temperature on your HVAC. Program the temperature of your HVAC system so it doesn’t work too hard while you’re away — 80 degrees Fahrenheit if it’s going to be hot or 60 degrees if it is going to be cooler. Don’t turn it off entirely, though. Excessive heat or cold can damage your home’s interior.

  7. Drain your pipes. Find your water main (it’s in the basement) and turn it off using the control knob. Go through your house and turn on your faucets to drain the water from your pipes. (You don’t want overheated water to damage them.) Don’t forget the outdoor spigots — disconnect all the hoses and open the spigot to drain these pipes.

  8. Clean your oven. If you have a self-cleaning oven, open the doors and windows in your house and turn on the cleaning mode. (It uses high heat to burn away debris that could cause difficulties.) Smoke will come out of your oven during this time, so make sure you have your fans on as well. If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning option, use soap and water and scrub-a-dub-dub.

Pro Tip: Close your curtains and blinds while you are gone to prevent heat leakage. This will control your temperature without overtaxing the HVAC system.

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