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Going Away? What We Don’t Recommend for Your Unoccupied Home

March 5, 2021


When you leave your home for an extended period, like a vacation or a job assignment, you probably wonder what you should do to make sure that your home stays safe while you’re away. Hiring a Home Watch service is an obvious choice. In addition to the things you should do to prepare your home for your absence, there are also things you shouldn’t do. Here’s what we don’t recommend for your unoccupied home.

Don’t Open a Window

People may think that their home will get good circulation if they leave a window, especially an upstairs window, cracked slightly open. This is never a good idea because:

  • You never know what the weather will be. A strong storm can blow moisture, rain or snow into your home and cause water damage.
  • If your area is humid, an open window invites the humidity indoors, causing mold and mildew problems throughout the home.
  • Burglars look for patterns and may take a constantly-open window as a sign that nobody is living there at the moment. They may also see it as an easy entry point to your home.

Don’t Turn Off the AC or Heat

Set your heating or air conditioning system at a lower setting than normal, but leave the systems running. Leaving the AC or heating system on normal settings will only waste electricity and resources. Do not turn off your systems, as the house could become extremely hot or cold, which can create problems like burst pipes or heat damage.

Don’t Use an Anti-Moisture Product

For people living in humid climates, don’t set out moisture-reducing products like DampRid. These products are composed of inorganic mineral salts, or calcium chloride, and are designed to remove moisture from the air. In Northern Virginia, it is not necessary.

Don’t Leave Fresh Foods Around

Clean out the fresh foods from your refrigerators and counters and dispose of it prior to leaving your home. You don’t want to come home to a moldy mess! Canned and packaged goods should be okay in your absence.

Related: 9 things to do at home before you leave for vacation

Don’t Forget to Cancel the Newspaper Delivery

A sure sign that nobody is home is a pile of newspapers and flyers in the driveway, or an overflowing mailbox. Cancel home subscription delivery and, if possible, have your mail held until you return or engage a Home Watch service or neighbor to gather your mail and check for flyers and papers.

Don’t Hide a Key

Criminals know all the spots where keys may be hidden, or they may spot a neighbor accessing or replacing a hidden key. Don’t make it easy for burglars to enter your unoccupied home. Place a key with a trusted neighbor or bonded Home Watch service. Golden Rule Home Watch offers a KeyWatch service where we hold your keys in order to provide supervised access to those you authorize to enter, such as a family member, neighbor or repairperson.

Don’t Leave Valuables Within Sight

Remove electronics, computers, and other valuables from areas where they may be seen through doors or windows. Close the curtains or blinds. Place smaller items inside cabinets or drawers. This little extra caution may save your unoccupied home from a break-in.

Don’t Post Your Vacation Pictures

Resist the temptation to post your vacation pictures on social media while you’re traveling. You don’t want to tip off criminals to your absence and come home to a ransacked home. Wait until you get home to show people what a good time you had. Likewise, don’t post that you will be taking a vacation or a work assignment out of town. This only lets people know that your house will be empty.

Don’t Forget to Check Doors and Windows

You’d be surprised how often we see a door or window left unlocked accidentally on our first visit when monitoring a client’s home. It’s one of the things we check. Just before you leave, go through your home to check all the windows and doors to ensure they are locked up tight. You never know who may have opened one and forgotten to lock it back up.

Planning for an Unoccupied Home? Check with Golden Rule Home Watch.

At Golden Rule Home Watch, we’re experts in securing your home while you’re away. If you’d like to discuss the do’s and don’ts about preparing your unoccupied home for an extended absence, or if you want to find out about our Home Watch services, please contact us.