How To Prepare Your House When Leaving for the Summer

Deadbolt is not enough

Not everybody can take the Tucson heat in the summer. Some people leave for a few months when it is the hottest in Tucson and return in the fall. If you do that, it is important to some summer vacation house prep before you leave. Here is a list of tips to avoid returning to unpleasant surprises. 

Close curtains/shades/blinds

To prevent nosy people from peeking in, close all curtains/shades/blinds that face public areas. To reduce the sun baking and fading items in the house, close all curtains/shades/blinds that face south/west. 

Turn off the water main

Shut the water off at the main at the house to avoid catastrophic leaks and water damage during your absence. If that’s not possible, for example water is required for irrigation, turn off all valves under sinks, at toilets, washing machine, etc. Consider placing water alarms at common problem areas like water heater, washing machine, kitchen sink, etc. Alternatively, consider having a plumber install separate shut-offs for house and irrigation so that you can turn off water to the house without turning off water for irrigation. 

Turn down/off the water heater

To avoid wasting energy to heat water that you’re not using while you’re gone, turn the water heater down or off. 
Electric: Turn off the breaker for the electric water heater in the main panel. 
Gas: Turn the regulator down to the vacation setting. 

Turn off the AC

Turn off the AC to save energy. If you’re leaving for the summer, there shouldn’t be anything left in the house like pets or plants that require AC. 

Unplug appliances

Unplug all appliances to save energy. Some appliances draw a small current when dormant. 

Install lights on a timer

To give the appearance that the home is occupied, install a light or three in the house on timers. 

Install an alarm system

Install an alarm system and ensure it is working properly. Modern alarm systems have water, fire, smoke etc. sensors that tie in with the system for full range monitoring. If you want to be able to randomly check in on the house yourself, add a few cameras as well. 

Service smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms if applicable to ensure they are working properly. 

Service the roof

Call a roofer to inspect the roof, perform any needed repairs, clean gutters and drainage channels to ensure the house is ready for monsoon season. 

Inspect the exterior

Inspect the exterior of the house to ensure there are no openings where moisture or pests could intrude. Caulk where necessary, repair weather stripping, verify windows are fully closed, etc. 

Cover drains

Cover/close all sink, shower, and tub drains to prevent pest intrusion. 

Screen vents

If applicable: Check the ventilation ports around the eaves and roof to ensure the screens are all intact. Repair or replace any damaged or missing screens to prevent pest intrusion. 

Prevent pest intrusion or damage

Have a pest control professional inspect the home and provide suggestions for any treatment to prevent pest intrusion and weed control. 

Check exterior drainage

Make sure drainage around the exterior of the house is working. Verify drain holes and French drains are functional and not clogged, drainage swales are not blocked, etc.

Stop mail

Either put mail delivery on hold or reroute mail. 

Secure the garage door

To prevent unauthorized access through the garage door, unplug the garage door opener (or lock it if it has a lock switch). Put a padlock through the door rail to physically prevent the door from moving. Don’t forget to remove the lock when you’re back! 

Remove anything perishable

Remove anything from the house that could spoil or attract pests. 

Cancel or hold services

Pause or stop any services you won’t use or need while gone such as house cleaning, automatic deliveries, etc. 

Secure all outside items

Put all outside furniture, appliances, tools etc. into the house to avoid damage by the sun and theft. 

Empty the fridge

Empty the fridge and freezer, unplug it, and leave the doors open. 

Secure all valuables

Store valuables in a safe or safe deposit box. This includes jewelry, cash, important paperwork, firearms, and anything irreplaceable.

Arrange for house check-ups

Arrange for a friend or neighbor to randomly stop by and check in on the house to ensure everything is in order. 


Install a surge protector

Have an electrician install a whole house surge protector in the electric main panel. This can protect your electronics from a lightning strike. 

Humidify the house

Put buckets of water around the house. It will slowly evaporate and prevent the air from getting too dry . It reduces deterioration of items in the house. 

Remove batteries from devices

Remove all batteries from devices such as remote controls, clocks, flashlights, etc. This prevents the batteries from draining and potentially from leaking and damaging the device. However, please do not remove the batteries from your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. They’re kinda important. 

Document the house

Take photos or video of everything in the house to document the house and your belongings – just in case of a catastrophic issue for insurance purposes. 

Remove hidden keys

Remove any secret or hidden keys in fake rocks or lock boxes around the house. 


These summer vacation house prep tips should help to greatly increase the probability that you will find your house exactly the way you left it when you return. Let us know if you have questions or additional tips.