Ing + McKee

It’s Summertime! Here are 8 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe While You’re on Vacation

July 20, 2022

Going on vacation? The last thing you want to come home to is damage from a broken pipe, break-in or worse. Learn how to keep your home safe while you are away.

Vacation is that time of year you happily anticipate: the opportunity to get away from it all and just unwind. You would never imagine coming back home to find a break-in, broken pipe or worse!

Although summer is considered the major vacation season for most, no matter what time of year you get away, you should take these important steps to protect your home.

  1. Install a security system — Homes without a professionally monitored security system are much more likely to be burglarized. Since most break-ins involve the use of force, a home security system can be a useful deterrent alerting the authorities in the event of a trigger.
  2. Turn off the water — During the summer, turn off the main shut-off valve if no one will be home. This keeps toilets from overflowing, pipes from leaking and outside spigots from being used and left running. During the winter, you can shut off the water but be careful how much you lower the temperature in the house so the pipes don’t freeze. Consider draining the pipes to remove the risk if leaving for an extended period of time.
  3. Hold the mail — It’s a small thing, but an important tipoff to would-be burglars. Stop your mail and newspaper. Or have a friend or trusted neighbor pick it up for you.
  4. Give the illusion someone is home — Consider installing a motion-sensing light outside of your home. In addition to putting interior lamps on timers, you can also put one on your television to create the typical flickering lights of a family at home. If you are away for over a week, arrange to have your lawn mowed. During winter, have the snow removed and ask a friend to drop by every three days to check in on the house. Avoid posting on social media that you will be away from home.
  5. Adjust the thermostat  You will save you some money on utilities, but don’t set it too low in the winter. An ideal setting is 15 degrees Celsius for most homes. This is warm enough to prevent freezing or damaging the building.
  6. Unplug high-value electronics — Even if your high-end electronics are plugged into a surge protector, it’s still wise to unplug them in case a severe storm hits. Widescreen televisions, computers, sound systems and small appliances like toasters and coffee makers can still be damaged if a bolt of lightning strikes nearby or there is a power surge.
  7. Disconnect your garage door  Tech-savvy thieves have been known to hack into garage door opener codes, and some openers (depending on the brand) can be opened with a universal remote.
  8. Pick up that hidden key  Criminals will always look for that hidden key, and they will find it! Give your spare key to a family member, friend or trusted neighbor.

By adding a little pre-trip planning for your home, you can spend more time enjoying that hard-earned vacation and less time worrying.

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