Soon the school year will end and the kids will be looking for something to do. Whether you’re planning weekend trips to the lake throughout the summer or a two-week getaway to a family resort, make sure that your home is secure before going on vacation. Use these tips to keep your property safe from theft, vandalism and other intrusions such as power surges and burst pipes.
Outside the Home
Walk around your home’s exterior and examine all doors and windows; see that they are properly closed and locked. Look for loose or broken hardware; repair or replace any locks, security bars, etc. Examine door/window trim for worn areas that can be easily pried open. Lock the garage door manually – hopefully, this will prevent some from opening the door with a similar electronic device.
Make your home looked lived in. Before going on summer vacation, cut the grass, clean the gutters, and sweep the driveway. If you’ll be gone for more than a week, arrange for a friend or neighbour to park their car in your driveway, empty the mailbox, and cut the grass and water the garden if needed.
If you have a home security system, inspect exterior cameras, motion detectors, etc. to ensure everything is working as it should. Notify your security company of the dates you will be away and when you’ll be returning.
Discourage intruders from entering your home by moving items away from siding that can be used to gain access to upper storey windows. Check fences for holes, loose boards, broken panels or leaning posts.
The weather might be nice when you leave, but there’s no guarantee that it will stay that way. Secure trash and recycling bins; put away the barbeque, lawn furniture and other items that might be blown around in a wind storm.
Remove any extra keys from under a plant pot, welcome mat, etc. Instead, leave a spare key with a neighbour or family member.
Inside the Home
Unplug non-essential electronics and large appliances – some appliances and electronic devices draw power even when off. Unplugging anything you’re not going to be using while away for a week or two safeguards against power surges.
Heat build-up inside the home could be dangerous. Keep the A/C on low to help regulate the temperature and the humidity.
Use timers effectively by having the lights going on and off in various rooms of your home according to your family’s normal schedule.
To avoid unexpected flooding due to burst pipes, turn off the water at the source.
Close some of the curtains. While closing curtains and blinds prevent people from seeing that you’re not at home, it also looks “suspicious” to an intruder casing the neighbourhood. To make it appear less obvious that you’re on vacation, leave some blinds/drapes open on all floors of your home.