Home Tips for When You’re Gone

Yes, it’s August, and the end of summer is near–at least on the calendar!  So these tips may be too late for summer trips, but they’re good to remember whenever you’re out of town, whether for an extended vacation, a weekend getaway, or a business trip.  Hope some of them help you leave with fewer worries about your home while you’re gone!

  • Use on/off timers on a few lights throughout the house to make it looked occupied, scheduling them to turn off and on at various times after dark. You can also use a timer on a radio to provide background noise that can deter potential intruders. Timers are inexpensive and can be found at any hardware or general merchandise store.
  • Ask a neighbor park in your driveway on occasion so it looks like there is someone at home.
  • Suspend delivery of your newspaper and have the post office hold your mail, or ask a neighbor to collect them for you each day. A buildup of mail or uncollected papers is an obvious sign that no one is at home.
  • Use caution when communicating about your vacation dates via Facebook and other networking sites before you leave. Information spreads quickly, and you don’t want it to get into the wrong hands.
  • Advise your friends and trusted neighbors of your travel plans and when you’re expecting to return. Provide your cell phone or another number where they can reach you in an emergency.
  • Close the window coverings on any ground-level rooms where valuables may be visible from the window.
  • Turn off the ringer on your telephones so they can’t be heard from outside. Leave a note on at least one of the phones as a reminder to turn the ringer back on when you return.
  • Unplug appliances such as coffee makers, toasters, microwaves, video systems, stereos, televisions, and computers. Be sure to leave the refrigerator and freezer plugged in.
  • To avoid the potential of water damage from an unpredictable leak or a burst hose, turn off the water supply lines for the toilets, sinks, washing machine, dishwasher, and ice maker. It’s easy to do and can help avert disaster.
  • Turn the water heater to its lowest setting or to vacation mode if it has one. Maintaining the hot water at its everyday temperature while you’re away wastes energy and money.
  • If possible, pack your vacation gear into the car while it’s in the garage so that you’re not announcing to passersby that you’re leaving for vacation.
  • Lock the garage, gates, and storage structures. Don’t forget the standard entry doors to the garage, either from the house or to outside.
  • If you’re going to be away for more than a week, arrange to have someone mow the lawn in your absence.

So go, relax, enjoy, and travel safely!  Whether you’re heading to the beach, the slopes, going on a cruise, or hitting the road, have fun!