When you and your family are away on vacation, the last thing that you want to worry about is the safety of your home. Whether you will be gone for a few days or several weeks, there are a number of steps that you can take to protect your home from burglary, fires, and other disasters.
Here are seven of the best things that you can do to protect your home while you are on vacation:
Arrange for a house sitter.
One of the easiest ways to keep your home safe while on vacation is to have somebody physically watch over it. For the most peace of mind, you should consider hiring a house sitter to come and stay at your house. However, it’s crucial that you enlist the help of an individual that you can trust. You should start researching potential candidates at least a few weeks before you are set to depart. Assess each person for his or her character and ask for references to ensure that he or she will be the right fit for the job.
Another option is to ask a friendly neighbor or family member to come by your house every day to ensure that all is well. While this person is there, he or she can complete a few simple tasks such as bringing in packages, watering plants, and tidying the yard.
Make it seem like someone is home.
If you don’t have anyone who can stay at your house while you are on vacation, then you should take steps to make it appear as though someone is home. Keeping your lights off for your entire vacation will certainly let passersby know that no one is home. However, it’s also a bad idea to keep them on all day and night.
To make your home look occupied, you should instead invest in a timer for your lights. These systems allow you to set a time for your lights to turn on and off each evening, thereby creating the illusion that you are there. You can also put your television on a timer to create some noise each day. With certain timers, you may even be able to control your lights directly from your phone.
A lighting timer is not the only technique that you can use to make it appear as though you are home while on vacation. Doing other things such as leaving a car out front and having someone bring your garbage bins to the curb will prevent burglars from thinking that you are away.
Before your vacation, you should remember to unplug certain appliances to prevent them from causing electrical fires or power surges. Devices such as lamps, televisions, computers, and coffee makers should never remain plugged in while you are away. For extra peace of mind, you should ensure that your smoke alarms are working properly.
Lock up tight.
It goes without saying, but you should lock up your entire house before leaving for any vacation. You should never forget to lock your windows and deadbolt any doors that could serve as points of entry for burglars. As part of your locking-up routine, you will also need to remove any spare keys from their hiding spots outside. If you have a garage, then you should disconnect the door controls to prevent someone from opening it with a universal remote.
Know who to inform of your absence.
As tempting as it may be to share your exciting vacation plans with your social-media contacts, you should refrain from posting any specifics about your trip online. This is especially crucial if you do not have the proper privacy settings enabled on your accounts, because the wrong individuals might catch wind of your absence. As such, you should wait to share information and pictures from your vacation until after you return home safely.
If there is one party that you should inform about your vacation plans, it is the police. Before heading off on a lengthy trip, you should call your local police department and ask if they can keep an eye on your house while you are away. On-duty officers may respond by driving by your home during their daily patrols.
Put a pause on your mail.
Nothing will give away your absence like a large pile of mail on your front porch. As such, it may be a good idea to ask your local post office to hold your mail while you are gone. Typically, the post office can put a hold on mail delivery for up to 30 days.
If you have a newspaper delivered to your house, you should also call your paper company to temporarily halt its delivery. Otherwise, arrange for someone to come and retrieve it daily.
Invest in a security system.
Installing a home security system will ensure that someone will always be monitoring your home during your vacation. Companies such as Alder can help safeguard your house from home intrusion by offering systems that come equipped with high-definition cameras, alarms, and noise sensors. You can also complement your security system with outdoor motion-sensor lighting for additional protection.
Whether or not you have a security system installed, you should place a sign outside that says that you are working with a security company. Even if you have not gone through the process of actually installing a system, having “proof” that your home is protected can deter potential intruders.