You’ve packed up your suitcase and planned your itinerary, but before you leave for vacation, take the time to protect your home while you’re away. July and August are popular vacation months, and unsurprisingly, they’re also the months when home burglaries peak. To fully enjoy your trip, plan appropriate home security and maintenance with this checklist.
Inside the house
Set timers on interior lights
This goes a long way in deterring burglars, who often look for crimes of opportunity. Don’t allow your house to appear as if no one is home.
Prevent power surges
You never know if a power surge can occur, so be prepared. Disconnect the computer, TV, stereo and other electronics, or make sure they are plugged safely into a surge protector.
No status updates
Never broadcast your location on Facebook or Twitter. Even if you think that it’s only your friends or colleagues viewing your online profiles, it’s safest not to leave any sort of opening for a possible burglar.
Alert your alarm company
If you have an automatic security system in place, call your representative and let them know you’ll be away from home for an extended period of time. Make sure the alarm is set properly when you leave.
If you don’t already have your jewelry or other valuables in a safe deposit box, now might be the time to do so. Doing this also ensures that you don’t leave out anything valuable in plain sight that a burglar might be able to see from a window.
Set a programmable thermostat to lower your heat or air conditioning usage.
Protect your pipes
Make sure pipes in vulnerable areas such as attics, basements and crawlspaces are insulated. In unusually cold weather, set your thermostat at 12.7 degrees C or above. Ask a neighbour or trusted friend to stop by and check on the house and periodically turn on the faucets to ensure the pipes don’t freeze.
Lock all doors and windows
It might seem obvious, but double-check just to be sure.
Outside the house
Arrange for lawn care
Have your landscaping tended to by a friendly neighbour or local service. Before you leave, trim tree branches that might allow access to a climbing burglar.
Newspaper and mail
Stop mail and newspaper deliveries or have them regularly picked up by a neighbour. Again, you don’t want to easily clue in a burglar to your absence by the mounting newspapers on your doorstep.
Set these lights on timers to deter burglars.
Don’t leave spare keys outdoors
Collect any hidden spare keys from around the exterior of your home. Remember, burglars know the most popular hiding places, like beneath mats and in potted plants.
Lock up your garage
Even if there is no entrance to your house from the garage, there’s still a chance for numerous things to be stolen. Secure the door and any entrances to the garage.