It is finally here, the trip you have been planning for all year. What should you do to ensure your home is safe while you are gone? We will explore several ideas that could be the difference between having all your things when you get back or taking all your stuff while you are gone.
The first thing we need to look at is your current home security posture. Do you have a security system? Cameras? Do all your exterior doors have good locks? Do your windows lock? What about exterior lighting? These are just a few considerations when reviewing your home security. We will touch briefly on each before moving on to one of the biggest mistakes I see so many make regarding home security.
1. Alarm Systems
We will begin with an alarm system. These are part of your first line of defense against burglars. I suggest a professionally monitored alarm setup that covers doors, windows and has motion sensors as well. There are plenty of options that allow you to self-monitor, but what if you are somewhere that does not have cell service when the alert happens. A professionally monitored system will enable the authorities to be contacted when there is a breach.
Additionally, getting an alarm system with environmental sensors can protect your home from threats other than break-ins. Hazards like flooding can be detected by sensors that measure the moisture level in the air, which could indicate a broken pipe or damaged appliance. Many alarm systems either have options for fire alarms and carbon monoxide sensors as well.
2. Outdoor Security Lights
Outdoor security lights are an inexpensive addition to your home security setup. You can even add solar-powered lights installed in any location that gets sunlight to charge the batteries. Pick areas most likely for a burglar to try and gain entry to your home, like backdoors and sides of the house away from public view. They come in motion-sensing models and models that only come on in the dark, so you do not have to worry about them using much energy if hooked into home power.
3. Lock Everything
This one is easy to forget. While doing your final packing for your trip, take a walk around your house, checking every window and door to make sure they are locked. Close most blinds and curtains to keep prying eyes out. You will want to leave some blinds open so that the lights you put on timers can shine to the outside when they come on.
4. Install a Video Doorbell
Video doorbells will allow you to answer your door from anywhere you have data service for your phone. You will be able to talk to visitors in real-time. You will also be able to review video clips from times that you may not have data service.
5. Install Video Cameras
Along with a video doorbell, installing cameras around the perimeter of your house will let you know if anyone is sneaking around. Using cloud-based cameras also ensures that you have access to history even if someone steals the cameras.
6. Shut Off Water Main
Not something most people think about, but this could save you thousands of dollars in damage and bills if something were to happen to your plumbing.
7. Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to stop to check in periodically
Have someone stop by at random times and check over your property. They will be able to assess if there are any potential problems. Having them park in the driveway and change the blinds or maybe move some outdoor furniture around will give the appearance of someone being home.
8. Simulate a Human Presence
Putting lights and a radio on a timer that goes on and off at different times will give your home a feeling that someone is home even while you are away.
9. Suspend Mail and Paper Delivery
If you will be gone for an extended timeframe, having USPS hold your mail is a good option. If not an option, perhaps having a friend or neighbor check your mail will keep your mailbox from overflowing.
10. Do NOT publish your plans on social media
I see so many of my friends and family post about “how excited” they are to go to “insert vacation destination here” on all social media sites. I get it. You are excited, but telling the world that you will be away from home for an extended time is not the best play. Bad guys can and search social media sites for just such posts and then plan accordingly. My advice is to wait until you return home and then post about how wonderful your trip was and share all the photos of the exciting times you had.
These are only a few of the many things you can do to prepare your home for not being there. Is there anything that you do that is not listed here? Please put them in the comments below so that others can be better prepared.
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original author: J. Franklin