When you’re away from home for an extended period of time, such as on a vacation or job assignment, the last thing you need to worry about is your home. What if something goes wrong in your home’s systems, or a storm creates damage? You won’t know until you arrive back home. To stave off potential problems, here are 21 ways to help protect your home while you’re away.
Protect Your Home While You’re Away
Outside Your Home
- Arrange for lawn care. Hire someone who will mow and remove lawn debris while you’re away.
- Trim landscaping. Trim back bushes and branches that are near to your home and could create hiding places for potential burglars. Or plant thorny plants beneath windows.
- Schedule exterior lighting. Install outdoor lighting, motion detectors and timers to illuminate your home.
- Lock all entrances. To protect your home while you’re away, ensure that all doors to your home are securely locked. This includes your garage doors, even if the garage does not offer access to your home. Use deadbolt locks for added security.
- Stop deliveries. Arrange for newspapers and mail to be held or picked up on a daily basis.
- Remove hidden keys. Don’t leave a key hidden around your home; thieves know where to look. Arrange to have a spare key held by a responsible neighbor, family member or professional home watch service.
- Post security signs. Advertise your hired security service, or create a generic security sign or sticker and post near your doorways.
- Store tools and toys. Do not leave a ladder outside your home or leaning against your house. Store it in the garage, away from sight. Store tools and toys like bicycles to prevent against theft.
- Secure outside items. Prepare as if you would for a storm and take down or secure items that could blow around, like planters, umbrellas and deck furniture.
Inside Your Home
- Turn off the water. Locate your main water valve and turn it to the off position. Check for leaks around the valve. Drain water from the lines at the lowest point in the house.
- Add timers to interior lights. Program your interior lights to go on and off at times to indicate activity inside your home.
- Set a radio on a timer. Make it sound like someone is home, and set the volume so it can be just heard from outside.
- Double-check doors and windows. Check to make sure all windows are closed and that doors and windows are locked.
- Remove valuables from sight. Protect your home while you’re away by ensuring that valuables are not visible through windows. Thieves also look through drawers and closets when breaking in and quickly grab what they can see. Secure jewelry, important papers and other valuables in a safe deposit box for the time being.
- Pull the shades. Close the shades in rooms where electronics are visible, and close the blinds at the rear and side of the house. You may not want to close all the curtains, however, especially in the front of the home. Your neighbors won’t be able to keep an eye on the place, and it may look like the house is closed up because nobody is home.
- Disconnect electronics. Power surges can destroy electronics. Unplug your computers, entertainment systems, microwave and other electronics. Investing in surge protectors is always a good idea.
- Clean out the refrigerator. Don’t leave perishable items in the refrigerator while you’re away. Turn off the ice maker.
- Adjust the thermostat. Don’t turn your heating/cooling system off altogether. Set it at 78 degrees for summer and 62 degrees for winter.
General Tips to Protect Your Home While You’re Away
- Don’t broadcast your travels. It is tempting to post about your fabulous location or gourmet meal, but save these social media posts for when you return. It is too easy for criminals to monitor your social media channels, even if you think they are secure.
- Keep a home inventory. Take photographs of each room and keep these stored in a secure location. This is documentation if something should happen.
- Use a home watch service. Your final, and best way to protect your home while you’re away: engage a bonded and insured home watch service like Golden Rule Home Watch.
Who’s Watching Your Home While You’re Not There?
You may think of leaving a key with your neighbor and asking them to look in at your home to protect it while you’re away. Chances are, they won’t go inside or around back, and may miss problems that could cause major damage.
Golden Rule Home Watch & Concierge is trained in home improvement, home management and security for homeowners throughout Northern Virginia. They will schedule regular visits to your home and provide you with detailed reports of each visit so that you can rest easy knowing your home is watched over while you’re away.
Contact Golden Rule Home Watch to inquire about watching over your home while you’re traveling.