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Old 05-25-2015, 08:09 AM   #21
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"You have three USPS options with the mail. They will hold it, they will forward it to a new address, or they will "premium forward" for $17 per week. Regular forward has a couple of drawbacks, some mail specifically reads "do not forward" and some businesses are notified of any forwarding and change the address on record. Premium forward is pricey but the USPS puts everything in a priority mail envelop once a week to your new address. If you don't need your mail forwarded, either a hold or a helpful neighbor is best."

We used the Premium Forwarding service that the USPS offers this past winter, and it worked smoothly, though I did have to call the local PO when our trusted house watcher reported that the postman was still delivering mail to our box a week after we left. About a week after our return in April, we received a bundle of mail that must have been discovered in one of the PO's storage cubbies. Having worked as a mail carrier sub for a few years, I was understanding about how mail can be overlooked, so I wasn't too concerned. So much of our mail these days goes into the recycling bin anyway.

We have the option of turning our water off at the street, and I have read of people in cold climates who do so, and allow their houses to grow cold. We were quite anxious about leaving the boiler running so that water could circulate through the radiators in our house, and the wifi thermostat helped to alleviate our fears quite a bit. Still, our house is 120 years old, and some of the radiators are original.

I hired our trusted cleaning lady to do the walk through and shoveling this winter, and we linked the wifi thermostat to her email account so that she could get alerts should something go wrong.
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Old 05-25-2015, 12:09 PM   #22
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Thanks for the tip on the cable/internet vacation suspension. I just did a live chat with Time Warner and found they offer it if you're gone more than 2 months, and up to 6 months. Of course they charge for it. $5/month each for cable and internet. So $10/month to suspend both.

What a racket.
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Old 05-25-2015, 12:14 PM   #23
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have TWC in WNY and DISH in AZ for the winter. they both go on suspension while I'm gone. $5/mo for DISH, but TW is more cuz the phone needs to stay on for the alarm
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Old 05-25-2015, 05:20 PM   #24
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Thanks for all the pointers. Very helpful.
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Old 05-25-2015, 05:57 PM   #25
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You have three USPS options with the mail. They will hold it, they will forward it to a new address, or they will "premium forward" for $17 per week. .
The "hold" option is only good for a maximum of 30 days, however. After that, USPS won't hold it any more, so you'll have to figure out some other way to deal with it, if you choose hold for the first month.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:05 PM   #26
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The "hold" option is only good for a maximum of 30 days, however. After that, USPS won't hold it any more, so you'll have to figure out some other way to deal with it, if you choose hold for the first month.
I've heard people get around this by notifying the USPS that they authorize a specific person to pick up the held mail. That person then restarts the hold.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:31 PM   #27
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I've heard people get around this by notifying the USPS that they authorize a specific person to pick up the held mail. That person then restarts the hold.
I asked about that, but our local Post Office manager wouldn't do it. Worth asking about, however, as your local P.O. manager may interpret the rules differently.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:48 PM   #28
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I would turn off the water where it enters the house. As others have said, a lot of damage can occur if you have a pipe burst.

We had our mail held at the P.O. and had someone pick it up occasionally.

Before we left, I installed a system where I could monitor the inside temperature via the internet. It saved our bacon as I was able to see the inside temperature was dropping and call our plumber and have him check out why... a part on the heating system had failed. It could serve the same purpose in monitoring temps don't get too high as well.

My sister returned from a 3 week vacation to discover that she had had a power outage and for some reason when the power came back on her refrigerator had not come back on so everything in her freezer melted and her kitchen floor got soaked and ruined. However, other than having someone checking on the place I'm not sure what she could have done differently.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:15 PM   #29
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Should I turn off the water to the whole house? Absolutely cut off the water.

- How about insurance? If you're temporarily leaving, your insurance will remain in force. It's not an issue.

- Has anyone tried those wifi enabled security cameras? By all means install the cameras and a digital recorder--and have cameras in obvious locations. Just having them is an incentive for burglars to go elsewhere.

- How about mail service? You could get a post office box. I'd have all my important bills on auto pay or get online billing where you can pay'em online.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:23 PM   #30
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If anyone has a digital thermostat that runs on batteries, swap out the batteries before you leave your house, especially in the wintertime.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:20 AM   #31
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Our "long list" here:

Advice on long snow bird "commute'?
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Old 05-30-2015, 11:13 AM   #32
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pretty sure I learned of this somewhere here, but bears repeating. neighbors say it's very effective http://www.amazon.com/FakeTV-FTV-11-.../dp/B00BTKGHDE
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:00 AM   #33
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Our local post office also has that 30 day limit. But we've gone away numerous times over the last 3 years over 30 days (up to 7 weeks away), and never had a problem with them holding our mail. We DO use the option of not restarting delivery until we return, however, (as opposed to giving the post office stop and then restart dates) so they really have no way of knowing how long we've been away.
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