7 Things to Do Before Heading Home for the Holidays

Avoid coming back in January to a broken boiler and a sky-high electricity bill with these tips 

As you head home for the holidays to enjoy the endless stream of turkey sandwiches and having chocolate for breakfast, it’s important to keep your house safe.

Here are 7 things you should think about before you head home for Christmas.



1. CLEAR OUT THE FRIDGE AND BINS

Avoid coming back to 3-week old cheese stinking out the kitchen by remembering to clear out the fridge. Don’t forget to empty the bins too, and put them out for the last bin collection.



2. DON’T WASTE MONEY ON AN EMPTY HOUSE

It’s tempting to have the heating on full as it gets into winter, but remember to put the thermostat on a timer to avoid heating an empty house. The recommended temperature is 21ºC for the day and 17ºC for night – the best setting for a good night’s sleep. Remember to adjust this when you head home.



3. REMEMBER TO TURN OUT THE LIGHTS

Last one out? Turn out the lights. Whether it’s when you leave for a few weeks, or just leave for a lecture, make sure they’re all off to save some money (and the planet). Don’t forget to unplug those fairy lights too (they can be a fire hazard).



4. DON’T TURN OFF YOUR BOILER COMPLETELY

Surprisingly, turning off the boiler completely is NOT the best idea. This can risk freezing the pipes, which is disastrous in the long run. Instead, just turn your boiler down to a low heat while you’re away. Some have a ‘frost’ setting, but somewhere between 7ºC and 10ºC is perfect.



5. LOCK ALL WINDOWS AND DOORS

It may sound obvious, but make sure to lock absolutely EVERYTHING. Do as much as you can to avoid a break in while you’re away by ensuring all the windows and external doors are secure. If you have an alarm system, keep this on over the holidays too.



6. DON’T LEAVE DEVICES ON STANDBY

Turn off ALL electronics at the mains (but before you ask, no, not the fridge and freezer). This is the safest way to leave an empty house, as well as saving a bunch of money. Unplug chargers (and definitely hair straighteners) when they aren’t being used. It’s better to be safe than sorry.



7. ORGANISE A GROUP CHAT

As everyone goes separate ways over Christmas, make sure to plan in advance. Agree who will be the last one out (and make sure they have a list of everything that needs to be done as they leave). Ensure everyone remembers to take their key home to avoid being locked out. If your neighbours will be in around Christmas, leave a contact number for them for emergencies. 

And finally, take your comfy clothes home. ‘tis the season to overeat with family, so make sure you’re fully prepared for the copious amounts of food (and drink) with the stretchy-ist trousers you own!

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