Many people look forward to a summer vacation. Where you’re going usually determines the amount of planning needed. A weekend getaway just a few hours away is much easier to pull off than a trip across or out of the country. Whether a little or a lot of planning is needed to have a successful vacation, don’t forget about ways to protect your home while you’re gone.
Thieves are more active this time of year and so is Mother Nature. Pipes or hoses can spring a leak at any time. Here are seven tips to protect your home and take away the worry.
1. What are friends for? If you have a friend who lives nearby or a trustworthy neighbor, ask them to keep an eye on your house. Our neighbors have helped us several times. We armed them with house keys and security codes so they would have access in an emergency.
A few years ago, we were on a family trip in Florida and received a call from ADT that our fire alarm was triggered. Our neighbor was able to disable the alarm and open up the house for the fire department which was better than a fire ax through the front door.
In addition, if a storm rolls through while you are gone, a friend or neighbor can alert you of significant storm damage.
2. Lay low on social media. While it’s exciting to post pictures or check in using social media, it’s a great invitation to thieves to vacation at your home and take your belongings. As your social network grows, so does your exposure. While I understand the immediate gratification of posting pictures, it’s safer to post when you’re back home.
Have a conversation with your kids since their social network is probably larger than yours and may include people who aren’t their friends, but a friend of a friend of a friend.
3. Consider a home monitoring system. A home monitoring system has many advantages. Several years ago, when my children were small, we signed a contract with ADT. What we liked about their system, besides fire and theft protection, was that every time a door or window opened the system would send out a chirp. This would alert us that somebody was on the move.
Today, we still have the system but we recently upgraded. The system is much more sophisticated and we can now monitor our home with our Smartphones. Depending on what system you choose, there are plenty of monitoring options.
4. Check hoses and faucets regularly. Experts recommend checking hoses that lead to your washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator each year, looking for cracks or water leaks. They also recommend replacing all hoses every five to seven years.
5. Know where and how to shut off your water main. If a pipe suddenly bursts in your home, it’s important to know how to shut off the water supply. In most situations, shutting off the water main will stop the flow of water. Shutting your water off at the main will help prevent significant water damage while away. To order a free water main shut off tag, click here.
6. Maintain your lawn. Many homeowners take pride in their yards. If you regularly pull weeds and cut your grass, this should continue if you’re away for several weeks. There’s nothing like a neglected yard to tell a burglar you’re not home. Hire a lawn service or a neighbor while you’re gone.
7. Unplug your electronics and small appliances. Unplugging your electronics while you’re away can protect them if a severe storm rolls through your area and causes a power surge. Unplugging also provides piece of mind. Have you ever been gone and thought, “I wonder if I turned off the coffee pot or the TV?”
SOURCE: WEST BEND, Scott Stueber on Jul 21, 2015 9:00:00 AM