Going on vacation is an exciting time. You’ll get the thrill of traveling, you’ll see a new location, get away from work and your normal routine, and experience a new culture with your mind at ease. But at the same time, you’ll be leaving your home – along with your valuables, pets, and possessions – somewhat vulnerable. Burglars often look for vacationing homeowners as key opportunities to strike, and natural breakdowns like fires and floods are harder to spot and mitigate.
So what can you do to protect your home while you’re away for a prolonged period of time?
Fortunately, there are some simple precautionary measures you can take to help keep your home safe:
- Check your door and window locks. It’s easy to slip into a false sense of security about your home. Before you leave for vacation, take a moment to check all your doors and windows to make sure they securely latch and lock. According to Milwaukee Lock Star, adding a deadbolt to your doors or changing the locks entirely can greatly improve your home’s security. You’ll also want to make sure any coincidental openings are sealed up; for example, if you have a cat or dog door, make sure it’s shut, and if you have a window air conditioning unit, make sure the space surrounding it is secured.
- Get a house sitter. If you can, hire a house sitter to remain at your residence and keep an eye on things while you’re gone. This is especially important if you have a pet. Someone mimicking the routine actions of a home dweller can dissuade opportunistic criminals from finding an opportunity to break in. If you can’t have someone in your house at all times, at least have someone check in on your place from time to time.
- Stop mail and deliveries. If a potential thief notices that a bulk of mail and packages have accumulated in your mailbox or on your front porch, it will be a clear sign that you’re on vacation, making your house appear more vulnerable than it should. To prevent this from happening, have the post office stop your mail for a specific period of time. Alternatively, you could arrange for a house sitter, friend, or neighbor to pick up your mail regularly.
- Set your lights on a timer. If you won’t have anybody in the house while you’re away, it’s a wise idea to have your lights set on a timer, so there are periods of illumination within the house during dark hours. This will signal to any potential watchers that your house is occupied, dissuading a potential home invasion.
- Adjust your electrical appliances. Security is about more than protecting your home from thieves; you also need to ensure your home is protected from your own appliances. For example, make sure your refrigerator is cleaned of perishables before you leave. Set your heater to a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, and turn your water heater down to the minimum. Make sure that you have had the recommended yearly water heater service from a plumber like the one that can be found when you click here. You’ll also want to check your water lines and turn off any electrical appliances that don’t need to be on-just in case something happens.
- Inform your neighbors. According to Travelers, it’s a good idea to tell your neighbors-or at least your most trusted neighbors-that you’re going away on vacation. This will keep them alert to any suspicious activities. For example, if a neighbor knows you’re on vacation, and hears strange noises coming from your house, they’ll be more likely to take action, adding to the security of your home.
How Much to Invest?
You don’t have to go crazy with your home before you leave on vacation; you don’t have to install a new high-tech camera system or change all your locks. Even the simplest set of safety precautions can mitigate the majority of disasters and crimes. Criminals look for easy points of entry, so adding even one layer of difficulty to the process can deter most crimes from happening in the first place. Similarly, following best practices for appliances and keeping your neighbors informed of your departure can protect your home from the majority of accidents and unusual circumstances.
Your home will always be vulnerable when you’re away on vacation-at least to a degree-but as long as you have the proper safety measures in place, you can rest assured knowing you did your best to prevent the majority of incidents.