Keeping Your Home Safe While You're Away
Going away for a while involves a lot of up front work. You've usually got hotel rooms to book, air plane tickets to buy, or make arrangement to have your car service as well as a personal itinerary to work out. However, in addition to all those things, there's still one more thing you should take time to figure out - how to keep you home safe while you're away. Here's some ideas on keeping your home safe.
Up front arrangements
- Give a key to a trusted neighbor, family member who lives in the area or a 'house sitter' and ask them to actually come into your house on a regular basis to ensure everything is alright. This is important because some insurance policies require someone physically be in the house at least once a day as a condition of providing ongoing coverage. If you live in cold climate place a thermometer near the entrance so your house
'checker' can see at a glance the temperature and know the furnace is working. As well, putting a cardboard box close to the door where they can put your mail, newspapers and junk mail will help keep it organized.
- Once you've got travel details worked out, write up an itinerary outlining where you are going to be and how someone can reach you (telephone number, email address). It's also a good idea to list numbers of your utility companies, (water, power, gas, insurance agent) so the person looking after your house won't need to hunt for them in case of an emergency.
Make your house seem occupied
- Purchase three or four wall outlet timers, put them into different rooms and adjust them to turn on and go off at appropriate times, IE living room lights on in the early evening, bedroom light on later. Plugging a radio or TV into a timer will also help make your home sound occupied.
- Change the message on your answering machine to a generic one that simply says you can't get to the call right now but will get back to the caller as soon as you can - don't mention you are away.
- If you are on Facebook, Twitter or one of the other social networking sites, don't update your profile to say you're going away. Too many people could pick up the fact your home will be unoccupied.
- If possible it's a great idea to have a neighbor park a car in your driveway. It really does make a home seem occupied.
Just prior to going away
- Adjust your air conditioner or furnace setting for the time you will be gone. You can also save some more electricity by unplugging small appliances, computers and other things you obviously won't be using while away.
- If you have an alarm system, let the company know you will be away and for how long.
- Empty out your garbage cans and throw out any perishables in your refrigerator so you won't come home to a smelly house.
- Pick up any spare keys from their hiding spots (like under a door mat or in a planter box) and put them away with any other extra keys, out of site.
Finally, enjoy your trip, knowing you've done everything possible to keep your home safe while you're away.