The last thing you want to be thinking about on vacation is how your house is fairing at home. Here are some simple steps to keep your house safe from intruders as well as avoiding home disasters.
1. Ask a Friend or Neighbour for Help
Having someone available to check in on your home while you’re away is the easiest and most reassuring way to keep your home just as you left it. Getting rid of your spare key from your usual hiding place and handing it to a friend makes sure that it’s not there for anyone else to take advantage of with less traffic coming and going from your house.
Ask your friend to stop in and grab the mail from the front step (a pile of newspapers on your porch is a big sign to a potential burglar that no one’s home) and take a peek inside the house to make sure there have been no power outages or surges and that your pipes are still in good shape (especially in winter!).
Make sure you have an itinerary available for everyone watching your house so they know how to contact you in case of emergency. Also, be sure to let everyone looking after your house know about each other so there’s no chance of 9-1-1 being called on your dog walker or neighbour!
2. Don’t Tip Off Criminals on the Web
As tempting as it can be to post your excitement for being away on vacation for your friends and family to see, try not to give explicit details on when, how long, or if everyone in your household is going away. Especially on public social platforms like twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, people who you may not know can have access to your information. Also, be careful if you are planning on changing your voicemail message- people calling don’t need to know that you are away, they just need to know that you can’t come to the phone.
3. Prepare Your Home
Thinking of closing your curtains so strangers can’t see in? That actually could be a way to tip someone off that you are gone. Closed curtains also stop neighbours or drive by police from being able to see into your house to notice strange behavior. Leave your curtains the way you usually do so your house looks the same.
Another outdated way to deter intruders is to leave a light on while you’re gone. Not only does this hike up your hydro bill, but it also can look very bizarre at night when usually there are no lights on. With the introduction of lighting timers, now there’s a way to have your lights on while you’re gone and also add to the effect of looking like someone’s home (no one knows it’s not a person turning those lights on and off). Speaking of saving on hydro, some appliances use energy even when not in use so unplug the items you don’t need while you’re away to save you some money!
If you’re leaving in winter make sure your heat stays on enough to protect from frozen pipes. Have whoever is checking in on your house try to use the faucets when they’re over- if only a few drops come out, the pipes may be frozen. Also make sure they know where the main water shut off is in case of burst pipes!
These tips add a bit more planning to an already busy time right before travelling, but when you can be lying on a beach, exploring ruins or visiting distant family free from the stress of thinking about home- it’s totally worth it. Safe travels everyone!