First, we highly recommend Letting your home insurance company know you'll be gone for quite some time, and ask if there are things you do to ensure continuous coverage while you're away.
You can make it look like you're still at home by putting lights on timers and having your neighbor park one of their vehicles in your driveway.
Set up cameras in the basement, bathroom, and kitchen to watch for water leaks, and put one by the front door so you can see people come and go.
Everything from lights, cameras, and even your thermostat can be set up to operate remotely from your phone.
Turn off the water to the house, relieve the water pressure in the lines and turn off both the water heater and the ice maker in your fridge.
Water tends to evaporate over time, something that can let some pretty awful smells into your home.
Avoid this problem by covering all drains and wrapping each toilet with Saran Wrap.
To avoid returning home to some nasty science experiments, be sure to clean out your fridge entirely before you leave.
When leaving your house in winter, your thermostat should be set to around 50 degrees (°F) to prevent freezing of plumbing.
You can help protect plumbing under sinks by leaving the cabinet doors under sinks open. This allows warm interior air to circulate over the water lines there.
You will want your smoke detectors to go off should a fire occur. Replace their batteries and test them before you leave.
Phone chargers, home phones, computers, televisions, etc., should all be unplugged from the wall.
Do your best to avoid pests by inspecting the outside of the house from possible entry points, covering vents with mesh, and filling holes with steel wool.
If you have furniture or other items that could blow away or be damaged by winter weather, you will want to make sure to put those away or at least secure them.
You might want to hire someone to come out and remove snow from your roof after big storms to prevent damage.
If you have a cat or a dog, you'll probably want to take your furry friend with you. Some pets cannot travel, so be sure to make arrangements for their care while away.
It's good to leave a house key with at least one trusted friend or family member and ask them to check up on the house once a week or more.