Whether you're traveling to see family or going to a cozy cabin to relax, taking a trip is one of the most exciting ways to relax or spend the holidays. But before you head over the river and through the woods, you need to make sure your home will be safe while you are away. Below are some home safety tips to prevent problems while you're out-of-town.
1. Lock your doors and windows.
This tip may seem obvious. However, in all the excitement of leaving for your trip, locking up your home may not be your main focus. To make sure your home is not an easy target for intruders, lock every door and window on your way out.
2. Put your mail on hold.
Before leaving, ask the post office to hold your mail until you return. Clear out your mailbox, and stop any newspaper deliveries. Not only does a mail hold prevent criminals from stealing sensitive documents, but it also prevents mail from piling up and making it obvious that your home is vacant.
3. Put lights on timers.
A dark home is a target for criminals. Create the illusion of occupancy by using timers to turn interior lights off and on throughout the evening.
Having exterior lights on timers is another important home safety tip. These lights will illuminate the outside of your property and make it less appealing to burglars. Before leaving, be sure to check the integrity of all cords so you can avoid a potential fire.
4. Don't broadcast your plans on social media.
There will be plenty of time to show the selfies with you enjoying your trip AFTER you get back. Wait - no matter how tempting it may be. Not everyone watching your feed has good intentions. Posting pictures of your trip before you return may simply be an invitation to a break-in.
5. Keep up with landscaping.
If you have a professional landscaper maintaining your lawn, keep them working while you are away. Set up snow removal services as well in case a storm hits before you come home. The goal is to make people think you’re home, even when you aren’t
6. Leave a car in the driveway.
If possible, leave a vehicle parked in your driveway. Studies have shown that would-be thieves think twice when a car is present. Be sure to keep the vehicle locked and empty of valuables.
7. Hide your valuables.
Hide your valuables in a locked place if possible, in case of a break-in. It is also a good idea to keep any gifts or other items that may be appealing to thieves out of sight. Move them away from the windows, and stop all deliveries until you have returned. If you can't stop deliveries, invest in a secure drop box to keep on your porch and/or add a doorbell camera or other outdoor security.
8. Adjust the thermostat.
Adjust your thermostat to keep your home at an appropriate temperature while you are away. If you have a programmable smart thermostat, take advantage of its features to monitor the temperature remotely.
9. Set up a small water drip.
To prevent your pipes from freezing, leave a small trickle of water running to keep the water moving. On the same note, make sure outside hoses are empty and stored in a garage or shed.
10. Ask a neighbor to watch your home.
Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your property and report any suspicious behavior. If you don't want to put your mail on hold, your neighbor can pick it up for you as well.
11. Check smoke detectors.
Make sure your smoke detectors are all in working order and have fresh batteries.
12. Install outdoor security lighting.
If possible, install outdoor security lighting to reduce the risk of a break-in. If you already have it, just make sure all bulbs are in working order. Motion-sensor lighting, too, is especially helpful.
13. Remove spare keys.
If you have spare keys hidden under the doormat or beneath a flowerpot, remove them before you leave on your trip.
14. Unplug all electronics.
To reduce the risk of a fire and save money on electricity, unplug all electronics, including coffee makers, TVs, computers, lamps and fans.
15. Empty your storm drains and gutters.
Make sure all storm drains and gutters are empty before you leave. This will prevent overflow during a storm, and it can keep rain from seeping into your basement.
Remember...there are lots of things you want to get out of some time away. A claim is not one of them.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Winter-Dent, and stay safe!