25 Tips for Protecting Your Home While You Are on Vacation
By Kathy Steinemann
|You are probably aware of the most common tips for protecting your home while you are away on vacation: Discontinue your newspapers; have someone check your house every day; keep the lawn mowed. However, there are many other important concerns.
What is the point of taking a vacation if you return to a vandalized or damaged residence? There is more to protecting your home than having a friend or relative check on it daily and discontinuing newspapers before you leave. This article contains 25 tips for a more enjoyable vacation.
1. Do not discuss your vacation plans in public. You never know who might be listening.
2. Do not advertise in the local newspaper for a housesitter. It is an invitation to potential intruders.
3. Notify the local police and your alarm company that you will be away, especially if it is for more than a couple of days. Make sure that they have your cell phone number or the number of someone who can respond in emergencies.
4. Ask the police if they can patrol your area more frequently.
5. Be sure that the person looking after the premises knows where water/gas shutoffs and fuse boxes or main electrical circuit boxes are located.
6. Take photos of people who might need to access your property - such as the student who mows your lawn or shovels your snow, your petsitter, etc. Give copies of the photos to the person watching your home.
7. Consider installing motion-sensitive outside lights. Night intruders are less likely to break into a well-lit building.
8. Another good investment is deadbolt locks for doors and windows. If it takes a thief longer than 60 seconds to break in, he is likely to leave for easier pastures.
9. A good alarm system will help to deter break-ins. Many insurance companies will also give you a lower rate if your home is protected with a monitored system. Discuss the options with your insurance agents before purchasing. They may be able to recommend a security company.
10. Ensure that all exterior lights are working correctly. Change bulbs if necessary.
11. Make sure that the lawn is mowed regularly during the summer, leaves are raked up in the fall, and snow is removed during the winter.
12. Arrange for someone to put out the trash on garbage day and pick up your mail regularly.
13. A few children's toys in the yard provide an illusion of occupancy.
14. Rather than park your vehicle in the garage, leave it in the driveway and have someone move it occasionally. Alternatively, ask a neighbor to use your driveway for parking.
15. Unplug the garage door opener before you leave. Some manufacturers use the same combination or frequency for all their products, and someone could open your garage door unintentionally - or on purpose.
16. Transfer valuables to a bank safety deposit box.
17. Before you leave, unplug all appliances, computers, and electronic equipment. This is especially important for anything that is lightening- or surge-sensitive. This will protect your electrical devices and save electricity.
18. Deactivate ringers on telephones. To anyone listening, an unanswered phone is a clue that nobody is home.
19. Never leave a message on your phone system that indicates you are away.
20. Never leave a door key under a mat or in a flowerpot. Intruders are adept at finding them.
21. Turn off the water supply to appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.
22. Set timers on a couple of lamps and a radio to give your residence a "lived-in" look and sound.
23. Remember to lock all windows and doors, including the garage door. Secure all pet doors so that they will not allow entry.
24. In summer, do not turn off your air conditioner completely. On a sweltering day, an inactive unit signals, "Nobody is home here!"
25. While you travel, check your answering machine at least once daily so there is no indication to outsiders via beeps or messages that you have not emptied your voice mail recently.
(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann: This article is free to publish only if this copyright notice, the byline, and the author's note below (with active links) are included.
About the Author:
Kathy Steinemann writes articles and provides editorial services for several travel-related websites, including 111 Travel Directory and 1000+ Travel Tips. Article source: 111 Travel Directory: Triple1.com (triple one dot com)