Checklist for Your Dubai Home When Leaving for Vacation

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Planning for a long trip involves more than just packing your bags. You also have to make sure your home remains secure and well-maintained during your extended absence. The combination of Dubai’s hot climate, specific pest concerns, and modern living standards necessitates careful planning.

From AC management to sorting out a care system for your pets and plants, there are lots of things to manage before you leave. Here is a breakdown of all the things to consider and plan for effectively.

1. Should You Leave Your AC On or Off?

Dubai’s scorching summer heat can be relentless, making it crucial to manage your air conditioning settings appropriately. Turning off your AC completely might seem like a good idea to save on electricity, but it can lead to humidity build-up, which can damage your home and belongings. 

According to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), customers can activate the Away Mode before traveling. This mode helps manage energy consumption efficiently, reducing the risk of humidity-related damage while you are away. Additionally, this feature allows you to monitor your electricity and water usage remotely and receive regular updates via email. Here are some steps to manage your AC while you are away on vacation:

Set the AC to a Moderate Temperature 

You should aim for around 24-26 Β°C (75-78 Β°F). This setting ensures that your home stays cool enough to prevent mold and humidity damage without consuming excessive electricity.

Use a Programmable Thermostat 

If possible, try to invest in a programmable or smart thermostat. These devices can adjust the temperature based on the time of day, which can help save energy while maintaining a safe environment for your home. For example, in Dubai, you can find smart thermostats like the Nest or Ecobee, which are available at major electronics stores such as Sharaf DG and Emax. These devices are particularly beneficial during Dubai’s hot summer months, as they can optimize cooling schedules to reduce energy consumption and costs.

2. How to Ensure Pipes Do Not Burst

Water damage can be catastrophic, and preventing it should be a top priority. Dubai’s extreme temperatures and dry climate can affect your plumbing in unexpected ways. Here’s a detailed guide to securing your pipes before you leave:

Turn Off the Main Water Supply 

The most effective way to prevent any potential water damage is to turn off the main water supply to your home. Locate your main water valve, typically found where the water line enters your house, and shut it off completely. By turning off the main water supply, you can avoid coming home to a potentially disastrous situation like flooding. This method works for townhouses and villas. If you are living in an apartment, you can ensure this by simply switching off the valves in all the bathrooms.

Preventing Water Heater Bursts

One often overlooked issue is the risk of water heaters bursting while you are away. This can lead to significant flooding and damage. In Dubai, it is recommended to replace water heaters every 1-2 years due to the intense climate and the wear and tear it can cause. Failing to replace your water heater within this timeframe increases the risk of it bursting, which can prove to be disastrous. Always ensure your water heater is in good condition before traveling to avoid coming home to any hazards.

Inspect for Leaks

Before you leave, conduct a thorough inspection of your home’s plumbing system. Check for any signs of leaks or weaknesses in pipes, joints, and connections. Pay particular attention to areas under sinks and near appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. Fix any identified issues immediately to prevent them from worsening during your absence.

If you are unsure about the state of your plumbing, consider hiring a professional plumber to conduct a thorough inspection before you leave. A professional can identify potential issues that might not be apparent to the untrained eye and ensure your plumbing system is in optimal condition.

Consider a Leak Detection System 

Investing in a smart leak detection system can provide added peace of mind. These systems monitor your home’s plumbing and can automatically shut off the water supply if a leak is detected. Some systems even send alerts to your smartphone, allowing you to take immediate action even when you are away. This is particularly useful for residents living in villas and townhouses in Dubai.

3. How to Keep Insects and Cockroaches at Bay

Insects, particularly cockroaches, can be a persistent problem in Dubai due to the warm climate. These pests can thrive in homes left unattended for long periods, making it essential to take preventive measures. Here are ways to keep them out:

Clean Thoroughly 

Before you leave, ensure your home is spotless. There should be no food left outside. While cleaning, you may want to focus on areas where food particles and moisture accumulate, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, and dining areas. Special attention must be given to cleaning under appliances, inside cabinets, and around sink areas.

Use Pest Repellents

Place insect traps or repellents throughout your home, particularly in high-risk areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. Using natural repellents such as bay leaves, cucumber slices, or peppermint oil, which are known to deter cockroaches, might prove more effective. Chemical repellents and bait stations can also be helpful.

Seal Entry Points 

Inspect your home for any cracks, gaps, or holes that could serve as entry points for insects. Use caulk or weatherstripping to seal gaps around windows, doors, pipes, and electrical outlets. This helps prevent insects from finding their way inside.

Consider Professional Pest Control 

If you have had previous issues with pests or want to ensure maximum protection, hiring a professional pest control service may be your best bet. They can apply treatments that are more potent and have a longer-lasting effect.

4. What to Do to Keep Your Plants Alive

Your plants need special care to survive a prolonged absence. Neglecting them can lead to wilting or even death, but with proper planning, you can ensure they remain healthy and vibrant. Here are some tips to ensure they stay healthy:

Watering System

If you do not have a gardener, one option is to invest in a drip irrigation system or self-watering pots. These systems can be set up to water your plants at regular intervals, ensuring they receive adequate hydration. Drip irrigation systems are particularly useful for outdoor plants, as they provide a steady, controlled supply of water. For indoor plants, self-watering pots with reservoirs can maintain moisture levels for 2 to 4 weeks.

Group Plants Together 

Place your plants together in one area to create a micro-environment that retains humidity. This can help reduce water loss. Positioning them in a shaded spot away from direct sunlight can also prevent them from drying out too quickly.

Ask a Friend or Neighbor

If possible, ask a friend or neighbor to check on your plants occasionally. Provide them with clear instructions on watering and plant care.

5. Where to Board Your Pets

Leaving pets behind can be stressful for both you and them. Ensuring they receive proper care is crucial for their well-being and your peace of mind. Here is how to ensure they are well cared for:

Pet Boarding Facilities 

Dubai has numerous pet boarding facilities that offer excellent care. Research and choose one that suits your pet’s needs. Ensure they have a good reputation, clean facilities, and qualified staff. For more details on pet boarding in Dubai during vacations, you can browse through our blog post on it.

6. Keeping Your Home Safe

Securing your home is crucial when you are away for an extended period. Here are some measures to consider:

Install a Security System 

A good security system can deter burglars and provide peace of mind. Etisalat offers a range of security solutions, including their Indoor Monitoring Service, Outdoor Monitoring Service, and Front Door Monitoring Service. You can choose from various Wi-Fi-connected indoor cameras with HD video, two-way talk, motion detection, and night vision. These services provide 24/7 monitoring, real-time alerts, and the ability to control and monitor your home security from anywhere using a mobile app.

Timer Lights 

Use timer switches for your lights to create the illusion that someone is home. This can be a simple yet effective deterrent against potential intruders.

Notify Your Neighbors 

Inform trusted neighbors about your absence so they can keep an eye on your property. Provide them with your contact information in case of emergencies.

7. What to Do with Food and Other Perishables

Leaving perishable items unattended for a month or more can lead to unpleasant odors, mold, and even pest infestations. Here is how to manage perishable items before you leave:

Clear Out the Refrigerator 

Consume, donate, or dispose off all perishable foods in your refrigerator and freezer. Clean the interior thoroughly with a mild disinfectant to prevent odors and mold growth. While you are at it, you should inspect your pantry for items that may expire while you are away and dispose them of.

Take Out the Trash 

Ensure all trash bins are emptied and cleaned before you leave. This includes kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom bins. Leaving trash behind can attract pests and create foul odors.

Store Non-Perishables Properly

Store non-perishable food items in airtight containers to prevent pests from accessing them. Place these containers in a cool, dry place.

8. How to Handle Electricity and Gas

Properly managing your utilities can prevent accidents and save on costs. Here is what you can do:

Unplug Electronics 

Remember to unplug all non-essential electronics to avoid any risk of electrical fires. This includes appliances, chargers, gaming systems, iron, and any other devices not in use.

Turn Off Gas Supply 

If you have a gas supply, ensure it is turned off to prevent any potential leaks. Check all gas appliances and make sure they are securely turned off.

Check for Maintenance Needs 

Before leaving, ensure that all your appliances are in good working order. This can prevent unexpected issues while you are away.

9. Handling Bills and Finances

Ensuring your financial obligations are met while you are away is crucial.

Automate Payments 

You can set up automatic payments for recurring bills such as utilities, rent, or mortgage. This ensures you do not miss any payments while you are away. Nowadays, it is very easy to pay your utility bills via mobile applications irrespective of your location. You can either pay your bills on the Etisalat/du, DEWA apps for the respective utilities or to make life easier you can pay all your bills through your bank’s mobile banking app.

Notify Your Bank 

It is preferred that you inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid any issues with accessing your accounts or using your cards abroad.

10. Ways to Secure Your Furniture During Long Absences

Dubai’s harsh climate requires extra steps to ensure your furniture remains in good condition. The heat, dust, and occasional humidity can all contribute to wear and tear. 

Dust Covers 

Cover your furniture with dust covers or old sheets to protect them from dust and sand. This is especially important for items like sofas, chairs, and beds. Dust covers can prevent particles from settling into the fabric or damaging the surfaces.

Move Furniture Away from Windows 

Direct sunlight can cause fading and damage to your furniture. Move your furniture away from windows or close the curtains and blinds to protect them from UV rays. If possible, use UV-protective window films to reduce sun exposure further.

Climate Control 

As mentioned earlier, keeping your AC set to a moderate temperature can help protect your furniture from extreme temperature changes. Maintaining a consistent indoor climate reduces the risk of wood warping and other temperature-related damage.

Store Valuable Items 

If you have valuable or delicate furniture pieces, consider storing them in a climate-controlled storage unit. This provides an additional protecting layer against the elements and ensures they remain in pristine condition.

11. How to Ensure Your Vehicle Remains in Good Condition

If you plan to leave your car behind while traveling, it is essential to take steps to ensure it remains in good shape. Dubai’s hot climate and sandy environment can take a toll on an idle vehicle.

Clean Your Car 

Thoroughly wash and clean your car, both inside and out. Removing any food or debris will help prevent pests from entering and causing damage.

Fill the Tank 

Fill your gas tank to prevent moisture from accumulating inside the tank and causing rust. A full tank can also keep the seals from drying out. Moreover, ensure all fluids (oil, brake fluid, coolant, etc.) are topped off. This helps maintain the car’s internal components, ensuring they are in good condition.

Disconnect the Battery 

If the car has to be parked for longer than a month, disconnect the battery to keep it from depleting. You can also use a battery maintainer to keep it charged.

Extra Protection 

Use a high-quality car cover to protect your vehicle from dust, sand, and UV damage. This is especially important if you park your car outside. If possible, park your car in a covered or shaded area to protect it from the harsh sun. If you do not have access to a garage, you can rent a space in a secure parking facility.

12. Last-Minute Checks

Before you leave, conduct a final walkthrough of your home to ensure everything is in order. Here is a checklist:

  • Check All Windows and Doors: Ensure all windows and doors are securely locked.
  • Double-Check Security System: Verify that your security system is active and functioning properly.
  • Confirm with Caretakers: If you have arranged for someone to check on your home, pets, or plants, confirm the details with them and provide any necessary instructions.
  • Update Contact Information: Make sure those responsible for your home in your absence (family/friends) have your current contact information and travel itinerary.

Conclusion

Leaving your home in a city like Dubai, where the climate and environment pose unique challenges, requires careful planning and consideration. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your home, appliances, pets, and other things in it are safe, and in good condition when you return. 

If you’re living in Dubai, these tips will prove quite helpful for you. However, if you are moving to Dubai soon or have just moved to Dubai, these tips will prove to be helpful for newly moved expats who are traveling during the summer vacations.

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