You and your family are leaving in a few days to enjoy your annual vacation. The suitcases are stuffed with clothing, shoes, and outdoor gear; while your car has been cleaned out and prepared to be jam-packed with the suitcases, coolers, and oversized pool floats. Thinking through your to-do list, you realize you need to prepare your home, but other than turning off electronics and locking up is there anything else you should do?
The answer is overwhelmingly, “yes!”
Statistics show most break-ins happen within a two-mile radius of the burglar’s home; meaning, the burglar knows your routine and will be able to tell when you are away for an extended period of time.
Making your home look lived-in while you’re away is the top method for preventing burglaries.
Utilizing timers for a few lights and a radio or a television will help make your home look like you haven’t gone anywhere. You could even have a trusted friend come over to turn different lights on for a few nights during your trip. Ensure all your doors and windows are securely locked, as many break-ins occur through unlocked windows and doors. If you do not have a home security system, and even if you do, install a few motion-activated flood lights outside your home for additional lighting that may catch burglars off-guard. If you’re going to be out of town longer than a few days, have a lawn mowing service or friend maintain your lawn so it looks like you have been home to do it.
Aside from trying to prevent burglaries in your home, you will also want to take steps to prevent fires and other mishaps. Unplug all unnecessary electronics (i.e.: televisions, computers, other small appliances…) to cut down on your electric bill and help prevent electrical fires.
If you can, try to turn water valves for things like your dishwasher off and put your water heater on “vacation” mode for your trip. Rather than turning your thermostat off completely, set it higher than normal (summertime) so it continues to prevent moisture build-up but doesn’t use as much electricity.
Additional Preparation Measures
Taking steps to prevent burglaries, fires, and indoor flooding are the top priorities to prepare for a vacation, but, to ensure you return home to a pleasant house, there are a few more steps to take.
Go through your refrigerator and throw out any items that may expire before you return home; removing all trash and placing it in outdoor garbage cans to prevent unpleasant odors. If your garbage disposal is prone to smelling, run white vinegar and water through the system prior to leaving to help prevent the disposal stench. Finally, give your hotel contact information to a neighbor or trusted friend so they can alert you in the event of an emergency.