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10 Tips to Protect Your Home While You're Away

When preparing to go on vacation, it’s easy to get distracted by the thrill of getting away from it all. But it’s important to take extra steps on securing your house to keep everything at home, safe and sound.
 
Here are 10 tips on how to protect your home while you’re on vacation any time of the year.
  1.  Hold your mail. If you’re out of town for more than a few days, it’s best to stop your mail from being delivered. An overstuffed mailbox is a dead giveaway that you’re not home. Also, if you get any newspapers or magazines that are delivered to your driveway or front porch, you’ll need to put those on hold too.
  2. Don’t post about your whereabouts on social media. If you want to share your vacation with your social friends, that’s fine but wait until you’re home to do so. By sharing your travel plans you’re announcing to everyone that your home will be empty. Information online is easily accessible, even if you have your privacy settings set on your social pages.
  3. Advertise your security. If you have a home security system, notify your alarm company the dates you will not be home and make the security system obvious to potential intruders. You’ll want to make sure that your system can be programmed from any device so you can monitor everything while you’re away. If you don’t have a home security system, it’s still smart to put out signs or post security stickers on windows and doors.
  4. Don’t leave spare keys out. Hidden keys are usually very easy for thieves to find and give easy access to your home. Be safe and just leave a key with someone you trust.
  5. Lock everything. And we mean everything. Windows, doors, and put valuables in a locked safe (out of sight). It’s also probably best to close the blinds and curtains (especially in those rooms with large TVs, etc). Double check this before you walk out the door!
  6. Hire someone to cut your lawn or shovel snow in the winter so there’s some activity going on at your home while you’re gone. An overgrown lawn or snow piled up is sure sign to intruders that no one is home.
  7. Let your neighbors know that you’ll be out of town so they can keep an eye on your home, take your trash to the curb, and pick up any unexpected deliveries.
  8. Make it look like someone is home. Put a few lights inside your home on timers to simulate someone being home. There are programs available that can pre-program lights to be turned on and off at various times throughout the day and night. Turning on a radio is another great technique.
  9. Reach out to your local police department. Many local police departments provide a security check for the outside of your home while you’re away. Oftentimes, they’ll ask you to provide information about what type of cars are allowed in your driveway (including license plate numbers). This allows them to see if someone is at your home who shouldn’t be.
  10. Disable your automatic garage door. While automatic garage doors are very convenient, they also serve as a weak link in your home security. It’s best to go old school while you’re out of town and disconnect the garage door opener and use a manual latch to lock the door from the inside.
 
Bonus money-saving tip: A lot of the newer models of hot water heaters have a “vacation mode” which allows you to save some dollars while you’re gone. This will keep the water temperature around 50 degrees which is still warm enough to avoid freezing in the winter months. No need to keep water hot if no one is home! If you have an older model, you can always do this manually before you leave. Just remember to turn it back up when you get home!

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