Accommodation Safety

5 things to check before going home for Christmas

With Christmas in sight, it’s easy to forget to look after your student home as the excitement of heading home just gets too much. A lot of student accommodation is empty over the break, so make sure you follow these tips to prevent any nasty surprises when you return in January.

1. Clean out the fridge

Imagine returning to some milk that’s so far past its sell-by-date that it’s almost solid. Or to find that the vegetables you bought with such good intentions have turned to mush.

Nobody wants to return to a smelly fridge, so it’s important that you get rid of anything that will go off while you’re away – and tell your housemates to do the same!

Better still, try not to waste food and use up your ingredients before you leave. Or, you can donate any spare food products to your local food bank (there’s one in the Sainsbury’s Local or the Chaplaincy on campus).

2. Check your heating

You might be tempted to turn off your heating altogether while you’re away to save money – BUT this can cause much bigger problems than an inflated bill!

As the temperature drops over winter, turning off your heating system completely can lead to frozen pipes, which can cause them to burst. It’s usually best to leave your heating on a timer so that it’s on for a couple of hours a day while the property is empty. Check with your landlord if you’re not sure.

3. Get unplugging

One way that you can save money over the break is to make sure you’re not using any electricity unnecessarily. By turning off your electrics at the wall and unplugging them, you can be sure that you haven’t left anything on that could be costing money, or worse, could be a safety risk. You’ll be doing your bit for the environment, too!

Don’t forget though – do not unplug your fridge and freezer.

4. Lock up your doors and windows

We don’t want to sound negative, but student burglaries over the winter break are not uncommon. This is usually due to the properties not being left properly secured, or expensive electrical equipment being left on display.

If you’re leaving anything valuable in your student home, make sure it’s out-of-sight, or better still, locked away. If you’ve got a timer light in your property, make sure it’s on whilst away. If you’re the last person to leave your property, double or triple-check that you have locked all doors and windows securely.

5. Don’t advertise that your property is empty

Think before posting on social media that you’re heading home for the break – do you really want everyone to know that your student house is going to be empty? You never know who might see your post and take a chance.

You might also want to think about investing in a lamp that you can put on a timer to make your property look lived-in over Christmas.

Don’t forget to share this with your housemates! You might not be the last to leave your property, so it’s good to keep everyone informed so your home will be as safe as possible over Christmas.

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