Late last year we received a letter from our Home Owners Association (HOA) letting us know that they’ll be fumigating our entire condo complex in 5 phases. So many thoughts ran through my mind. We’ve been in our humble abode for almost 9 years and this is the first time experiencing anything like this. In all my life I have never experienced this so it was all new to me.
As we prepared for our home to be tented, we learned a few things from the exterminators as well as those who went through the first phase of our condo fumigation. So, as uncomfortable, stressful, inconvenient and embarrassing this situation may be, I figured I’d take a positive spin and share a few tips on how to prepare for fumigation in case you ever need one done.
Getting Fumigation Ready
Read the fine print in your contract. We read everything from beginning to end, and still asked questions. Yes, the exterminators are the experts and they know what they’re doing, but in the end, you ultimately need that peace of mind. Besides, you know your family’s medical history better than anyone. You know your house better than anyone.
Having kids with asthma and kids in general, we wanted to make sure that everything in the house would be child safe when we came back. Based on my online research, the warning chemical used to fumigate the house is an asthma trigger. They exterminators will do everything in their power to air out the home before owners and tenants enter, but being the mama bear I am, I decided to keep my kids out an extra day just to be safe.
Another thing we found scanning our contract is that the exterminators are not liable for any missing items. Your home will be unlocked and completely open during the airing out process. Security guards were provided by our HOA during this period, but you never know what will happen. My neighbors suggested we take all our valuables with us. If you have additional home insurance just make sure you take photos of the bigger items you can’t take with you (i.e. desk top, big screen television, etc.)
Finally, make sure you give your exterminator special instructions about where you want your key to placed after they remove the tenting from your home. They’ll give you a few options but it ultimately comes down to what you’re comfortable with.
Schedule your SDG&E appointment right away. SDG&E will come and shut your power off the morning of your fumigation. That’s typically the responsibility of your exterminator. Turning the gas back on is your responsibility! Make sure you to make an appointment to get it turned back on right away. They’re usually really good about calling before they arrive. You can do this through your account online or via touch tone phone.
Find out where you will stay. Although they have in the past, our home insurance did not cover a hotel stay for this particular situation since it was not an emergency. However, yours might be different. Always call to see what your options are. We didn’t really have a budget to stay in a hotel, so we opted to stay at my parent’s house which turned out not to be so bad. Whatever the case, just make sure you make those arrangements ahead of time so you know where you’re going.
Start packing and prepping as early as you possibly can. This is what my neighbors kept stressing to me. This was a challenge for me since I couldn’t start bagging things that were in daily use. I made sure we had nothing planned the weekend before so we could wash all the clothes, clean and get rid of things we no longer needed. Your exterminator will provide you with special instructions and nylon bags for you to secure any items that are not manufacturer sealed (i.e. food items and toiletries.) If the manufactured seal has not been tampered with, then there’s no need to bag. Just always double check with the experts to be safe. We were told to also remove all garment bags because plastic is known to trap the fumigant.
Take this time to clean out things you don’t need or dispose of things that are almost gone. This is more of a cleaning tip if you will. While cleaning out the refrigerator and cabinets we definitely threw a lot of unneeded items away. It’s a great time to purge!
Don’t buy a whole bunch of groceries up to two weeks before your scheduled fumigation. This is not the time to restock those cabinets. The less you have to bag, the better. And the easier and less stressful it will be for you to move back into your home after fumigation is complete. Consider eating out or buying just enough of what you need to last until the big move.
Cancel regular deliveries ahead of time. I learned this the hard way. It should be moved up to the top. I almost forgot to cancel our water delivery. Good thing I remembered as we were leaving. If you order diapers online or have any other regularly scheduled deliveries that will happen during our fumigation, contact the company and ask to reschedule or give specific instructions for delivery. You don’t want to incur any fees or worse, have your packages left floating around.
Keep your doors and windows completely open. Including but not limited to any drawers and other spaces within your home such as safes, closets and lockers. This is for both before you leave and when you return. Leaving them open before you leave allows the fumigant to pass through all the nooks and crannies of your home. Upon arrival, leaving the doors and windows open (you can close the cabinets) helps continue to air out any of the fumigant.
There you have it friends. These are my tips for how to prepare for fumigation. I never thought I’d have to experience this, but there is a first time for everything.
Have you ever experienced getting your home fumigated? If so, what are your expert tips? Please share them in the comments below.