How to Prepare your Home for Being Away on Winter Vacation

The winter months are the perfect time to get away for vacation in a warmer place, especially if you live in Chicago, which can be quite chilly. 

If you are planning on going on vacation for the holidays, you’ll want to make sure that your home is protected while you’re away, so that when you come back it is just how you left it. Here is a checklist of things to remember to do before you leave for holiday! 

Leave the Heat On

Every year, homeowners go on vacation and turn the heat down – or off – while they are away. This is one of the major reasons why pipes freeze and burst in homes in Chicago, because the cold weather moves in and the house is not warm enough to counter the cold outside. 

People typically turn the heat down to save money, and in addition to this breaking pipes potentially, it is also not really cheaper. This is because the cost to re-heat the house is greater than the cost to maintain, or at least the same price. 

Make it Look Like Someone is Home

Even though you aren’t really there, you will want it to look like you are if you are gone for multiple days at a time. This is to deter people from breaking into your home and stealing your belongings while you are away, and will help ensure that you are returning to a safe home. 

To make it look like someone is home you should: 

  • Leave a few lights on
  • Shut the blinds and curtains either halfway or all the way 
  • Leave an extra car in the driveway
  • Have your neighbors or someone come by and pick up the mail or newspapers
  • Have automatic lights that come on at night (like the front porch light) 

These are not guaranteed to deter thieves from attempting to break into your home, however it will decrease the chances greatly. 


While turning off the heat to save money is a bad idea, unplugging appliances and other electronics while you are gone is actually recommended. Not all appliances should be unplugged, as some need to stay connected to power – like the refrigerator. 

It is recommended to unplug floor and table lamps, power strips and anything plugged into wall outlets. Chargers (even ones that are not charging anything) should be unplugged because they still use energy even if they are just a cable. 

Unplugging things that are not in use while you are away can save you money on your electric bill, while reducing the risk of electrical fires too!