Most people dream of escaping a cold, snowy landscape for a winter getaway. But it can be hard to enjoy your vacation if you’re worrying about your house.
Not only is an empty house an easy target for burglars, other household problems can occur while you are away. Before you head out on vacation, follow these steps to protect your home and leave you worry-free.
1. Install a home security system
This option allows you to have peace of mind with 24/7 monitoring of your home. You can get a variety of features to protect your home, including door sensors, glass break sensors, and interactive servicesthat let you control smart locks, lights, and thermostats from your smartphone. Another option with a security system is a key fob that you can give to a friend or neighbor to use to easily arm and disarm your system as they periodically check on your house.
2. Ask a friend or neighbor to help keep an eye on things
This trusted person should be on the lookout for unexpected deliveries and can also stop by at random times to check up on the house. If it will be especially cold while you’re gone, you might want this person to turn on faucets periodically to help keep the pipes from freezing.
3. Unplug your appliances
Protect your desktop computer, TV, coffee pot and other appliances from power surges and the possibility of fire by unplugging them before you leave. You’ll also save a little money, as appliances that are plugged in still use energy, even if they’re not turned on. Another often-forgotten thing to unplug: your garage door opener, so burglars can’t easily gain access through your garage.
4. Have your lights on a timer
As part of our interactive security package, you can use your smartphone to turn your lights on and off. If that’s not an option, you can also set up your lights on a timer. Don’t leave lights on the entire time you’re gone unless you normally have lights on all night.
5. Hide your valuables
It’s a smart idea to get expensive or valuable items out of sight or out of your home entirely, perhaps in a safety deposit box. Read about about other ways you can safeguard your valuables.
You should also think about how you want to leave your curtains, but it’s important to consider how you normally have them. If you keep your curtains wide open typically and then they’re shut for 2 weeks, it might be a blatant sign that you’re not home.
6. Don’t advertise your absence on social media
Another way for criminals to know that you’re out of town is if you announce it on social media or a blog. Tell your close friends or family via phone or in person, but don’t tell the whole world over the Internet.
7. Keep the driveway and sidewalk shoveled
Another obvious sign that you’re gone is fresh snow piled up. You can have a friend or neighbor keep up your snow-clearing duties or pay local high schoolers or a professional snow removal company for the service.
8. Stop your mail and deliveries
If you’re gone between 3 and 30 days, the postal service can hold your mail. Also make sure to stop any newspaper or other regular deliveries.
9. Remove your keys
If you’re gone, there’s no need for a spare key to be somewhere outside your house. It only leaves you open to burglary. You should also hide or remove the keys you keep in your garage or house, including car keys.
10. Lock everything
Most people know enough to lock their doors, but are your windows locked? Have you blocked your sliding glass door to prevent it from being opened?
These 10 steps aren’t foolproof, but they will reassure you and let you better enjoy your hard-earned time away. If something should occur, make sure your monitoring center or friend/neighbor has your information in order to reach you. Have a great trip!