If you are leaving your home for work, a weekend getaway, or a week long vacation, it’s important to take steps to keep your house safe. Often, break-ins occur while no one is home, so making it seem like someone is still in the house can make thieves think twice before entering your home. House fires or flooding can also occur if you don’t take the right measures. Although not an exhaustive list, adopting some of the below tips will help protect your home from potential problems no matter how long you will be away.
1. Keep a Light On
Keeping the lights on, or a television playing will create the illusion that someone is home. Most people turn these devices off to conserve energy, but this increases the risk of a break-in. If you’d normally keep the kitchen light on during the night, you should also keep it on while you are away. You can set a timed light as well to make it seem that sometime the light is on, sometimes it’s off, just as it would be if you were home.
2. Protect Your Home with a Home Security System
A Home Security System can offer peace of mind with 24-hour home security monitoring from not only burglary, but also from fire and carbon monoxide dangers. Be sure to also post signs provided by your security company to let everyone (including would-be burglars) know that your home is protected and monitored.
3. Don’t Keep Mail Laying Out
Mail stacked up on your front porch is an obvious giveaway that you are not home. Even the daily papers in your lawn might be a sign that no one is around. If you don’t have someone available to pick up your mail for you while you’re away, put a hold on your mail at the post office.
4. Make Your Home Look Busy
Try to maintain a normal state of your property while you are away. For example, if you’re going to be away for an extended period of time, ask a family member or friend to mow your lawn on a regular basis. This will illustrate that someone is at least coming by the house.
5. Limit Public Knowledge
Be mindful and very cautious of what you post on social media. Anything posted online is public knowledge, even if you don’t think so. Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media sites lets others know that your home is going to be empty. Wait until you return from your trip to share your vacation news.
6. Unplug Appliances
Not only do you need to protect your home from thieves, but you need to protect your home from fires. Leaving appliances plugged in creates the risk of an electrical fire or power surge with no one around for early protection. Make sure you unplug the big stuff, think TVs, computers, etc, and also the small stuff, toasters, coffee maker, etc.
7. Check your sump pump!
Especially during the Spring months, be sure that your sump pump is operational, particularly if you are planning to be away from your home for a few days. Flick the float arm on your pump before you leave to make sure it is operational and check the discharge hose outside to ensure it is free from debris (snow, ice etc). If heavy rains are expected, ask a friend or neighbour to check your home periodically just to be sure the pump is doing its job properly.
No one wants to return from a fun vacation to a home that has been burglarized or damaged in some way. Taking these simple steps will mitigate the risks of coming home to an avoidable surprise.