Before you hit the road, use this guide to keep your home safe from all sorts of disasters.
After a year of quarantine, it’s looking more and more like summer vacations are back. Finally, we can get back to relaxing days at the beach, taking in the sights, and perhaps most importantly after last year, no stress. But nothing can destroy your post-vacation calm like returning to a disaster at home. Coming home to a burglary, fire, or water leak is one of the worst-case scenarios for a homeowner.
When it comes to safeguarding your home, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Follow these steps to keep your home safe, while minimizing the chances of anything truly catastrophic happening while you’re on that much-needed summer vacation.
- Unplug small appliances: There’s one surefire way to reduce the risk of power surges or electrical fires. Take five minutes to unplug your TVs, coffee makers, lamps, microwave ovens and other small household appliances. You’ll even save a bit on your electric bill, as some appliances use power even when they’re off.
- Turn off your water: Not many people remember to do this one, but remember to shut off the water main in your basement. A burst pipe when you’re on summer vacation is an absolute worst-case scenario, resulting in thousands of dollars of damage and destroyed keepsakes. Fortunately, it’s easily preventable—so shut off the water.
- Install an automatic thermostat: Why come home to an unnecessarily high cooling bill? An automatic thermostat can regulate your home temperature so you’re not paying to cool down empty rooms while you’re on summer vacation. Already got an automatic thermostat? Try programming your room four degrees higher than your normal setting while you’re away. You’ll save money on your cooling costs, without letting your house turn into a sauna.
- Use Smart Home devices: Smart Home devices such as light bulbs, thermostats, and security cameras can make life a whole lot easier for a homeowner. They are completely programmable from your smartphone, to give you complete control even if you’re thousands of miles away. As an added bonus, having a Smart Home device to alert you about flooding or freezes can save you money on your homeowner insurance, which in the long run (or even in the medium run) means it can pay for itself.
Protecting Your Home from Burglary
After a year of lockdown, everyone is ready to enjoy a nice summer vacation. Unfortunately, burglars are ready too. While you’re anxious to break out of the house, lots of bad guys are anxious to break in. If you’re going away this summer, it’s always a good idea to safeguard your home.
Be prepared. Follow these tips to keep your home safe while you enjoy your stress-free summer vacation.
- Make it seem like someone’s home: Burglars love empty homes. And there’s no surer sign of an empty home than darkness. Homeowner’s tip: when you’re away on vacation, leave a few lights on. If you have Smart Home bulbs, you can program them ahead of time, or simply do it from your Smartphone. Another idea: install motion detector lights.
- Stop your mail: You don’t need to be a detective to figure out that piled-up mail and newspapers = nobody’s home. Before you go away, halt any newspaper deliveries, and request a temporary stop to your mail service. Want to avoid the post office? Do it online at usps.com.
- Don’t post vacation pics on social media: Everybody loves to post vacation photos. But wait until you get home. Otherwise, you’re broadcasting the fact that you’re on vacation and your house is empty.
- Hide the spare key and disable garage door opener: Burglars may already know where you hide your spare key, especially if it’s in an obvious place like under the mat. They also know how to spot fake rock hide-a-keys, so those may not be useful either. Best to remove the spare key. If you have someone coming in to feed your pets and water your plants, give them the key ahead of time. Same goes for your garage door opener. Remember to disable your garage door opener by disconnecting the electronic opener mechanism. To be extra safe, try placing a padlock on the door track –as long as you remember to take it off when you get home!
- Use Video Surveillance Systems: Wireless video surveillance systems are affordable, easy to install and are a great way to keep tabs on your home when you’re away. Some high-end models even come with color infrared night vision! As an added bonus, having a Smart Home-style video surveillance system in place can save you money on your homeowners policy…which makes it an even better investment.
If you’re going away, have a safe and fun-filled summer vacation! With just a little planning ahead of time, you can save yourself a whole heap of trouble when you get home. Have another homeowner tip for keeping your home safe? Let us know in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you!