Now that summer is here, it’s likely you and your family are planning to take a trip to get away from it all.
When you’re making your plans and preparations for your vacation, be sure to give some thought to what you’re leaving behind. Namely, your home. Follow these tips to make sure it stays secure and energy-efficient while you’re gone.
Timed lights make a house looked lived-in.
Connect a few lamps around the house to plug-in timers, and set them on a schedule consistent with your family’s usual activity. With lights going on and off on a regular basis, your home will appear occupied. So criminals will move on.
Protect against unexpected leaks.
If you’re going to be gone for a long vacation, it may make sense to temporarily shut off the water supply to major appliances like washing machines, ice makers, basement sinks and toilets. That way, there’s no chance of a leak occurring, and no chance you’ll come home to a kitchen or basement full of water.
Get a house sitter.
Get a trusted friend or professional house sitting service to take care of your home while you’re away. They’ll discourage crime by visiting your home regularly and bringing in your mail and paper for you. They can also water your houseplants and take care of pets, giving you fewer things to worry about during your trip.
Clean up the yard.
Mowing the grass before you go can help your home look occupied. Arrange to have a friend or lawn service cut it if you’re going to be away for an extended period. Trimming trees and shrubs away from outside windows can also be helpful, as it makes it difficult for burglars to hide or enter your home unnoticed.
Keep the details to yourself.
Social media can be a great way to share your vacation memories as they happen. However, by letting everyone know that you’re having a great time far away, you’re also pointing out the fact that your home is empty. Save the vacation photo sharing until you’re back home. Also be sure to watch the conversations you have about your trip while you’re at work, school or in any other public place. You never know who’s listening for an opportunity.
Stop your mail and paper.
Thieves usually look for signs of an empty home, simply because it’s an easier target. One of the key things they look for is a buildup of uncollected mail in the mailbox, or multiple newspapers sitting on the front lawn. Help your house look occupied during your trip by contacting the Postal Service and your newspaper to temporarily hold your service while you’re gone. Or, have a neighbor or family member you trust pick up your mail and paper instead.
Unplug small electronics.
Many household devices like coffee makers, televisions and DVRs can continue to draw current even when switched off. Unplug them to save energy. Furthermore, unplugging your garage door can protect your home from criminals using universal garage door remotes.
Lock it up, lock it down.
Make sure the external doors in your home have quality deadbolts, and that all doors and especially windows are securely locked before you go. If you have an alarm system, don’t forget to arm it.
Turn off your computer.
If your computer isn’t on, it can’t be hacked. Make sure computers, tablets and laptops are powered down before you leave, eliminating the chance that your information can be compromised while you’re away.
Don’t waste energy heating and cooling an empty home.
There’s no use running an air conditioner or furnace when there’s nobody there to feel it. A thermostat like the iComfort Wi-Fi® touchscreen thermostat can be programmed to drastically reduce your energy waste while you’re away. The iComfort Wi-Fi even features a simple One-Touch Away Mode that can send your heating and cooling system into an extremely energy-efficient mode with just a touch.