Of course, we should know by now not to post on social media about taking an upcoming trip, but we don’t always think of everything else we can do to protect our home and valuables while we’re away. Rather than being on vacation and worrying about the security of your home, take a moment to go through our summer vacation security checklist to help you keep the burglars away.
1. Install (and use!) a security system
If you already have an alarm system, make sure you use it! Many people stop using their alarm system to its full potential after they’ve had it for a while. A few weeks before you leave, make sure your system is in working order. You can also get a separate code and password for someone who is watching your house. Then, make sure you arm your system when you leave for your vacation.
If you don’t have a security system, getting one should be a top priority before you leave your home vacant during a vacation. Heartland Security has systems customized to fit your needs, so protecting your home and valuables is easier than ever.
2. Make it look like someone’s home
- Set your lights on a timer, or if you prefer, use your smartphone to control the lights in your smart security system.
- Leave a radio or TV on at a volume that can be heard from just outside the home.
- Have a neighbor, friend, or relative put the trash bins out on trash day, even if they’re empty.
- If you regularly park in the driveway, park a car there. Leave your car parked outside your garage (with all valuables removed from it) or ask your neighbor to park there every day or every other day.
3. Prepare your house’s interior
- Use a large wooden dowel or similar item to block your sliding glass door from opening.
- Unplug appliances to lower electricity usage and lessen the risk of a fire.
- Adjust the thermostats on your fridge and freezer to higher than normal settings. If you’ll be gone more than 4 weeks, you may want to empty the fridge/freezer and unplug it.
- Use your smart home security system to program your thermostat to lessen air conditioning use.
- Some people also recommend shutting off your water heater and main water valve to prevent potential water damage. Water sensors as part of a security system can help alert you to any water problems.
4. Take care of the outside of your house
If you’ve got a spare key hidden away, make sure you remove it. You can also do away with keys by installing keyless smart locks that you can control from your smartphone as part of a smart home security system.
If you’ll be gone for a longer period of time or you typically receive a large volume of mail, it’s a good idea to stop or forward your mail when you’re gone. Also, see if a neighbor, friend, or nearby relative can periodically check for solicitiations or door hangers and possibly check on the house. This can easily be done if you’ve got someone lined up to take care of your pets while you’re away.
Another important thing to do before you leave is mow and trim your yard. You’ll want it in good shape before you go, and depending on the amount of time you’re gone and how quickly your grass grows, you might want to line up someone to take care of the yard while you’re gone. A responsible high school student or professional lawn service can keep your yard looking tended.
5. Voicemail and email responses
A lot of people don’t think about this, but typically, when you’re on vacation and away from the office, you explain how long you’ll be gone in your out of office messages. While it may be necessary to explain when you’ll be back in the office, you don’t need to specifically state that you are on vacation or where you’ll be.
Rather than worrying about your home while you enjoy your sunny vacation, take steps to secure your home and secure your life. Smart home security can help you monitor your home while you’re gone. You can view live video, control and program your thermostats, and turn your lights on and off. Don’t leave anything to chance – come home to the same secure house that you left.