If you’re planning to travel for the holidays, don’t let the hustle and bustle of the season distract you from making sure your home is secure in your absence. We have some simple reminders of the things you can do to protect your home, especially if you’ll be away for a week or more.
One of the best ways to keep thieves from targeting your home is to avoid leaving signs you’re not there. It’s best to make the house look as it usually does on any given day when it’s occupied.
- Leave the curtains and blinds open.
- Put the porch light and a couple of interior lamps on timers set to go on and off in the evenings. Avoid leaving lights on to burn all day and night; that will raise your power bill as well as suspicion.
- Ask a neighbor to collect your mail, or better yet, put delivery on hold for the dates you’re out of town. Same goes for the newspaper, which you don’t want piling up on your front walk or steps — an obvious sign no one is home.
- Your neighbors might also be willing to shovel or snow blow your driveway in the event of a storm. Keeping it clear of snow will convey to passersby that someone is at least keeping an eye on things.
Lock and fasten all doors and windows. If you have sliding glass doors to the outside, you can better secure those by placing a metal rod or piece of plywood in the track. That will make it harder, if not impossible, for a would-be burglar to force the door open.
Don’t leave computers and small appliances plugged in. You might be surprised to learn that those things consumer energy even when they’re not “on,” but unplugging them also will prevent damage from potential power surges.
Chill out and clean up
When you’re not home for days at a time, you don’t have to leave the thermostat as high as you usually do. Lowering the heat is another way to save on your energy bill, but don’t leave the indoor temperature so low that the pipes risk freezing. Saving money on heating your home can happen whether you are home or not. Most experts recommend setting the thermostat to between 55 and 60 degrees. If you’re expecting a cold snap, you can also open the cabinets, such as under the kitchen and bathroom sinks, where pipes are located so warmer air can circulate.
Don’t leave leftovers in the fridge that can spoil while you’re away and be sure to take out the trash before you depart. One tip for preventing foul odors is to sprinkle some baking soda in the toilets and sinks.
Taking these precautions will help you enjoy the time away you’ve earned. Don’t forget to leave a spare key and your vacation contact information with a friend or neighbor. Happy holidays to you and yours!