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    The Great Escape: Six Steps to Take Before Leaving on a Winter Vacation

    If you have the mind and the means to escape Boston this winter, odds are you’re worried about leaving your home during this unpredictable season. Though we are undoubtedly fighting twinges of jealousy, we’ve outlined below the six most important things to consider to give you peace of mind while you’re away.

    • Some like it hot. You don’t want to be paying large utility bills when you’re not even there to reap the benefits. Setting your thermostat at 50 degrees should be more than sufficient. If you have temperamental plants, it’s a good idea to consult with the folks at Mahoney’s for their expert opinion.
    • You didn’t start the fire. Unplug any appliances that might pose a risk. Keep an eye out for potentially flammable items and properly dispose of them before leaving. If you have a fireplace, confirm that the damper or flue is closed so stray snow and/or animals don’t find their way in.
    • When the levee breaks. If you are away for an extended period, you might want to consider “winterizing”.  The water should be shut off at the main supply point. In addition, the toilet should be drained and faucets opened. If you’re unclear about how to do these properly, any local plumber will be able to help.  For Brookline and Newton, you can call William D. Osenton & Son, Inc or ask me for a referral.
    • You (don’t) have mail. Depending on how long you’ll be away, you’ll first want to pay a visit to your local post office to temporarily stop or forward your mail. Don’t forget to ask a neighbor to watch for packages or special deliveries that may come for you.
    • So fresh and so clean. Throw away any perishable foods and wipe the refrigerator down to avoid foul odors upon your return. Should you opt to leave some food behind, it better be in an air-tight container to avoid unwanted critters.
    • Ring the alarm. In addition to arming your usual alarm, it’s smart to let a trusted neighbor know you’ll be out of town so they can report any unusual activity. As a final check, confirm that all windows and doors are closed tightly and locked. Shufro Security in Newton can install an alarm system if you don’t already have one.

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