Keep Your Home Safe While You Vacation this Summer!

Your bags are packed, your airline tickets are booked…but is your house ready for you to go on vacation? Follow these simple tips to keep your home safe while you’re out of town!

Be Careful Who Knows

Don’t publicize the dates you’ll be gone on social media websites where the wrong person may be able to access what you post. Communicate privately with anyone who needs to know your itinerary, but limit those who you tell and make sure no one is eavesdropping on your conversation. Also, be sure that your voicemail message, home answering machine message, and email auto-reply don’t say that you’re away from home. Stick with “I can’t come to the phone right now” or “I’m out of the office.”

Phone a Friend

Arrange to have a trusted friend or neighbor keep an eye on your place while you’re gone. Ask them to walk or drive by your place once a day and make sure everything looks all right. You can give them a spare key (or a code for your smart lock) so they can check on any possible problems and perform any essential household chores, such as feeding your pets or watering your plants. Also have this person collect mail and the newspaper, so they don’t pile up outside and announce to the world that no one is home. (You should also be able to go online or contact your local post office and newspaper delivery company and ask them to put a temporary stop on your service). If someone other than your house-watcher will be stopping by (like a cleaning service or a designated pet sitter), be sure to let them know about each other so they don’t accidentally call the police on someone who is supposed to be there. Also, remember to give each person a user code for your alarm system so that they don’t set it off.

Let Us Know You Will Be Away

Be sure to let us know that you’ll be out of town, and if a friend or neighbor is looking after your house, provide us with their name and phone number. Be sure to leave security codes and pertinent phone numbers for your friend or neighbor too! If you’ll be gone for a week or more, consider letting your local police know about your trip. If you live in a small town, they may be able to drive past your place occasionally. Be sure to let the police know about anyone who is supposed to be visiting your house while you’re gone as well.

Get Ahead of Potential Problems

If you leave a hidden key under a lawn decoration or above your door frame, remove it while you’re on vacation. If a criminal does manage to learn that you’re out of town, they may go looking for a spare key on your property. Lock up valuables and important documents that you’re leaving behind in a fire-proof safe, or take them to a safe deposit box. Unplug your microwave, computer, toaster, television (unless you plan to put it on a timer), and any other appliances that don’t need to run while you’re away. This will protect them from power surges and prevent possible fires that could go unnoticed until its too late. This will also reduce your electric bill, as many devices use power even when they’re turned off. You can also raise the setting on your air conditioning (85º is a good target).

Keep up Appearances

Leave your curtains as you normally have them. Closing the curtains may keep someone from peering inside to see whether or not someone is home, but it can also prevent neighbors or police from seeing inside in the case of a suspected break-in. Plus, keeping all the curtains closed for several days could be a giveaway that you are out of town. If you normally open and close your curtains throughout the day, consider leaving some open and some closed, or leave them open but make sure to have lights turn on and off in those rooms. Investing in a couple of smart light switches and/or lamp/appliance modules is one of the best things you can do to protect your home while you’re away. Having lights turn on and off at logical times is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than leaving some lights on for the duration of your entire trip, and it gives the appearance that people are still in the house. You can even plug your TV and radio into an appliance module and turn them on and off remotely to further the illusion that someone is home.

You definitely don’t want to be worrying about home security while you’re away on your vacation, and you don’t want to have to deal with any problems once you get home. Follow these simple preventive measures before you leave, and your home will be safe and secure while you’re off having fun! If you don’t already have one, we would be happy to help you install a home security system so you can experience the peace of mind that comes with having a professionally monitored security system while you vacation this summer!