Home Safety Tips - While You’re Away on Vacation
Holiday Season is almost here and many of us are planning holiday trips. In addition to making plans for you and your loved ones safe trip, don’t forget to take some basic safety precautions to keep your house and belongings safe. Read the tips below and consider extending your preparations beyond locking your doors or setting timers for your lights:
- Turn down the thermostat to save on electricity while you’re gone. Setting the heat to about 55° will keep the pipes from freezing, but cool enough to save. You can also lower the temperature on your water heater.
- Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) like your desktop computer, coffee pot and television to protect your home from an electrical fire or power surge. This can save you money while you're gone and eliminate the worry that you've accidentally left them on by mistake.
- Turn off your garage door to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote.
- When you use long-term parking at the airport, don't leave a portable GPS in your car. It'll alert thieves that you're not home and give them a convenient map to your house.
- Install a home security system or even some exterior lights that run on timers to make your property less attractive for opportunistic thieves. If you can’t afford security cameras, at least install fake ones that look authentic.
- Lock up all windows and doors; pay special attention to pet access doors. Take any hidden spare keys out of commission. Just don’t forget to re-hide them when you return!
- Create the illusion that the residence is still occupied; invest in timers that turn on the interior lights for a few hours every evening. Ask a neighbor to take out your garbage and put the cans back after the garbage pickup. During the winter, arrange for snow removal in case of a storm (neighborhood kids are great for this, if you get their parents’ word that they’ll remember).
- Put a hold on your mail and on your daily paper. If you don’t have the time, ask a friend or a trusted neighbor to collect the goods daily.
- Consider leaving important documents and valuable items with other family members or a bank, or lock them in a safe. You can also mark your belongings visibly and permanently with your postcode and house number using a UV marker pen. Keep a list of the make, model and serial number of these items and take photos of any valuable items that can't be marked, like jewelry or paintings. Give copies of this list and photos to a trusted friend or relative.
- Last, but not least, do not make your holiday plans public (especially on social networking sites) where strangers may hear of your absence from home. Being aware of who's around when you discuss your trip in restaurants and even at work isn't a bad idea either. Make sure that your children are discreet, too.
Taking these simple steps will help keep your property and belongings safer while you're gone – and will keep you from obsessing about security once you're on the road to fun and adventure. What other precautions do you take before leaving on vacation?
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