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Closing Up Your Desert Home for the Summer

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Final Preparations for Closing Up Your Arizona Winter Home
You're all packed and you are ready to head out the door.

Prepare Your House to Leave for the Summer - Before you Lock Up and Drive Off

  1. Unplug the appliances, entertainment units, computers -- everything. The lightning from our summer monsoon storms can wreak havoc with electrical equipment.
  2. Leave large buckets or tubs of water in each room for moisture.
  3. Turn off the air conditioner, or set the thermostat if you'll be leaving the A/C on. How to decide? Some people turn off the A/C totally. Some leave it on but at a high temperature, like 90 or 95. Your decision here has to to with the items being left in the house. Is there artwork that you don't want to dry out in the heat? Does your security system only work at a particular temperature? Do you leave your wine collection in the house?
  4. If you have natural gas, turn off the gas at the main valve.
  5. Flush all toilets and run all faucets.
  6. Turn off the water to the house at the main valve. Drain any remaining water from the faucets, long shower head extensions and such.
  7. Turn off ceiling fans, indoor and out. Sometimes we forget to look up before we leave the house!
  8. Leave all the interior doors open so the air can circulate inside the house.
  9. Close all the blinds and drapes to keep as much heat out of the house as possible.
  10. Have candles? Store them in the refrigerator (if you are leaving it on) or put them in the coolest, darkest part of the house.
  11. If you use call forwarding on your land line, now is the time to remember to set it.
  12. Open the doors to the washer and dryer, the dishwasher, and any other appliance that typically seals up. Put a few spoonfuls of vegetable oil in the dishwasher and in the garbage disposal so the seals don't disintegrate in the heat.
  13. Unplug the garage door opener.
  14. Turn the water heater off.
  15. Ask a neighbor to check every couple of days to remove any fliers, phone books, packages or other items that may be tossed into your driveway or left by your front door.
  16. I recommend hiring someone --either a trusted neighbor or a professional company -- to stop at the house periodically to check for leaks inside and out, walk the house, visit after monsoon activity to check for storm damage, etc.

Our homes, systems and issues are all different. Some of the items in these checklists might not apply to your house, and there may be other items that you'll need on your checklist that other people don't have to consider. Some people leave for 3 months and some leave for 7 months. Complications arise if you allow someone to stay at your house for a week or two while you are away. Is it worth the grief? I'd ask them to stay at a motel!

I recommend that you use this information to create your own personal and permanent checklist. Add contact names and numbers for any professional services that you'll be using year after year. Hopefully you will have the preparation down to a science after a year or two, and you can be worry-free about your desert home while you spend the summer up north.

Page 1: Closing Up Your Winter Home During the Summer - Two Weeks Before Departure
Page 2: Closing Up Your Winter Home During the Summer - Two Days Before Departure
Page 3: Closing Up Your Winter Home During the Summer - Before You Lock the Door

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