Your Place: Vacation tips for homeowners

Posted: July 07, 2014

You may be more than ready for vacation. The real question: Is your house?

I have a few tips that come from Denise Baron, of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach in Center City, that I'll share with you. But I'll limit the advice to things you can't get from the TV "experts."

One suggestion, from Jim Towns, an Allstate agent in Batavia, Ill., is obvious, but it never ceases to amaze me how social media have robbed people of common sense: "Wait until you're home to post vacation pics on Facebook."

Also, Towns says, "Turn off the volume on your home phone, so the ringing won't signal an opportunity to passersby - and don't change your voicemail to say you're out of town."

Warm temperatures indoors can cause mold and mildew to grow in just the few days you might be gone. "Set the air conditioner to 82 degrees, and your house will stay cool enough to prevent both," says Craig Muccio, of Florida Power & Light Co.

Ask a neighbor to check on your house every other day and to bring in any unexpected deliveries such as phone books, circulars and FedEx notices. Make sure the neighbor has a key to your house.

I have my mail delivery interrupted starting the day before I leave for vacation. Thanks to online bill-paying, I'm down to credit card offers and circulars, which I'll recycle.

Flag care. A salute to my friend Emmet Pierce, who writes for SpareFoot.com, for these timely holiday-weekend tips:

The flag never should be used as a drapery or as a decoration.

It should not bear any drawing, mark, insignia, word, number or figure.

The flag should not touch the ground.

If you decide to put your flag in a self-storage unit, choose one with air conditioning and humidity control. Regardless of materials, flags do best at 55 percent to 75 percent relative humidity.

Never throw away a U.S. flag. The flag should be destroyed by burning it in a dignified manner. Contact an American Legion, VFW or Boy Scout chapter for details about flag-retirement ceremonies.


aheavens@phillynews.com or write him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.

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