With the upcoming holidays, many of us will be hitting the roadways (or airways) to celebrate. Whether we’re traveling to visit family, spend time with good friends, or just take a much-needed vacation of down time and refueling, many of us will be leaving home. As we pack our bags and hit the road, there are some important things we should do before we leave to make sure our home is safe and secure until we return.
Don’t Broadcast You’re Leaving
We all get excited at the prospect of time away. Many people post on social media that they’re headed out of town, even adding where they’re going and how long they’ll be gone. What people don’t realize is that update you Tweeted went out into public cyberspace for anyone to see. They also don’t realize that the Facebook status they posted, thinking it will only be seen by their friends, could be seen by someone who doesn’t regard them in the same light. The safest bet this holiday season is to not mention on social media that you’re headed out of town.
It is really difficult for an outside observer to know if someone is in your house or not if lights, televisions, or radios come on and off and different times of the day and night. Buying a couple of timers and plugging in lamps, a radio, and even a television to come on and off at rotating times will give the impression someone is home even when they are not.
Adjust the Thermostat
If you adjust the dial to turn up the temperature on your AC or turn down the heat while you’re away from home, not only will your air conditioner or heater save you money by running less while nobody is there to appreciate it, they’re running less frequently and will potentially help reduce the chances for anything to go wrong with those systems while you’re away. So, before you leave town, remember to adjust that thermostat!
Adjust the Hot Water Heater
Another way you can save money and have peace of mind when you’re away from home is to turn down the temperature on your hot water heater. Having it fire up to reheat water to a hot temperature when nobody is home to use it is not necessary. Not only will it save you money by using less utilities, it decreases any chances that something may go wrong with it while you’re away.
Shut Off the Main Water Valve
Most people do not think about turning off the water to their house before they leave town. In fact, to many, it seems like an unnecessary thing to do. However, millions of dollars in insurance claims would be saved annually if homeowners turned the water off before they left. If a pipe bursts inside your home, the hose to your washing machine were to decide to give way after years of wear, or even the water line going into the back of your refrigerator were to split while you are away, water would be running nonstop inside your home until you came back to find the flooded, soggy, mess. So, take the step of turning off the water to your home before you leave town.
Recruit a Neighbor
Asking a trustworthy neighbor to look out for your house while you’re away can give you added peace of mind. Having newspapers in the driveway or papers stuffed in the front door for days on end will be a telltale sign to a passerby that nobody is home. Also, having your garbage can sitting on the side of the road while you’re out of town sends a similar message. If you ask your neighbor pull in your cans or collect those papers and set them aside for you until your return, it will make it less noticeable to others that no one is home.
Check the Locks
This final tip might seem obvious, but it happens far more commonly than any one of us would care to admit. We’re so focused on getting out the door on time to catch our flight or making sure everything we may need is packed in the car, we forget to do the most obvious thing; we forget to walk around the house making sure all of the doors and windows are closed and locked. With this tip, most people assume that because their garage door is closed and down, that they do not need to lock the door entering their house from the garage. But, if there were to be an electrical surge that caused your garage door to rise up, anyone would have open access to walk into your home. So, make sure ALL doors and windows are locked before you leave.
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