UAE residents are being urged to make sure their homes are safe from unforeseen problems when they travel abroad this summer.
Experts said by taking a few appropriate safety measures people will not return to any nasty surprises.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) said residents should make sure lights are turned off, televisions and other electrical devices are unplugged and that water is turned off.
“These include switching off lights, unplugging electrical appliances and electronics, using a timer for any floodlights in gardens and fences, shutting off the water supply, and using a specialised technician to check water connections to ensure there are no leaks," it said.
Don't leave AC off completely
Colin Thomas, business partner at We Will Fix It, said: “If you have the setting on your temperature controller, we recommend that you set your AC on a timer for a couple of hours a day while you’re away, as this will cool down the interior of your home."
“Alternatively, put it on an automatic setting of about 27ºC to stop you from returning to a house full of condensation and to keep your plants alive at the same time.
“Also make sure you leave your curtains and blinds drawn in rooms that receive direct sunlight to help to keep the temperature down.”
This will also help to prevent any build-up of mould that might occur from increased humidity or any leaks while you are away.
Don't leave appliances on standby
“We recommend unplugging most of your electrics when you go away because this is safer and will save on electricity while you’re away,” he said.
“Just don’t unplug your fridge or freezer as this could end up very messy.
“Turn off anything on a timer, especially alarm clocks, you don’t want to drive your neighbours crazy from 6am every day.”
Having a close friend visit the property at least once a week is also advised, as is leaving your overseas contact details with them in case of an emergency.
How to avoid flooding
The type of flooding you might encounter and how you could deal with it all depends on the type of property you live in.
Although rain in the summer is rare, problems with pipes bursting and AC units leaking is relatively common, particularly in older buildings.
“If you’re living in an apartment and therefore do not have a garden, you’d be best to turn off your main water supply while you are away as this is the easiest and best way to prevent any water leaks or damage,” Mr Thomas said.
“If you live in a villa with a garden or are unable to isolate the water supply for whatever reason, make sure you switch off all water taps before you go away and have any leaks or drips fixed before you go to avoid a major Dewa bill.”
Keeping the garden safe
“No one wants to come home to a garden that has been reduced to a desert-like state, so ensure you time your irrigation to come on during the night to minimise evaporation,” he said.
“We recommend arranging for your gardening service to continue coming to your home while you are away and don’t cut the water supply or your irrigation will run dry within a day.”
Securing the property
While the UAE is one of the safest countries in the world, that does not mean you should be complacent about home security, another expert said.
“If you are going away for the summer it makes sense to leave your villa secure,” said Harry Tregoning, founder of Tregoning Maintenance.
“For security, obviously lock all windows and doors. For those in villas with sliding doors, it is often prudent to put a piece of wood the width of half [the door] jammed in so no one can forcibly slide the door open.
“Crime [here] is low, but you do not want to leave any temptation.”