Summer 2019 Newsletter

A Safe Home While You’re Away

It’s vacation season!

For years my family didn’t take one. We would take short weekend trips, which are great, but after nearly a decade without a full-on vacation, we decided a couple of years ago to make it a priority. It’s been really nice and much needed. Since I only have a couple of years of vacationing under my belt, I’m not going to pretend to be any kind of an expert in that regard.

But housing – now that’s my thing. In this issue, I’m talking about the best ways to take care of your home while you’re on vacation. How do you keep the homestead safe and secure while you’re away? Here are some tips and tricks that are common practice reminders; and maybe even a couple that you might not have thought of.

Security

The most important thing is to ensure your house is fully intact when you return from your trip. Unfortunately, there are people who may try to target homes where its clear people are on vacation. It’s great if you’re able to afford a home security system, but most of us can’t make that kind of major precautionary investment. Instead, you can do a few simple things that still help your home be as secure as possible.

  1. Double check the windows. My family enjoys opening windows when it’s a nice day. Maybe you do to. Sometimes those window locks are forgotten. So simply go around to double check that all windows are locked.
  2. Tell a trustworthy neighbor when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back. Thankfully, my family has a couple of really good neighbors. We’re always sure to let them know when we’ll be on vacation and they keep a lookout for us while we’re gone. Of course, we return the favor when they’re gone.
  3. If possible, leave a car parked where it’s visible. Even though it’s just sitting there, something as simple as a car at your property can be a deterrent to a robber.
  4. Buy a light-timer that you can set for each evening. These are inexpensive. You’re looking at investing $10 – $20 that could really help deter someone scoping out your house while you’re gone. They’re easy to use. Plug the device into the wall, then plug a lamp into the device. Set the timer for the time frames you want the lights on and let it go.

Disaster Prevention / Energy Saving

This one is simple. Just unplug stuff. Other than those timed lamps, there’s no reason for electronics and appliances to be plugged in while you’re gone. It’s unlikely anything would spark a fire, but why not just unplug stuff to be on the safe side. And unplugging everything will save you on energy costs for those few days. Every little bit helps! Of course, leave the heating/cooling system on and the sump-pump plugged in though.

For water safety, I shut off my water at the main valve. No water running to faucets or toilets means virtually no chance of a leak. An easy precaution.

Keep Air Flowing

I’m going to go against the grain a little bit. Many people might suggest setting your thermostat to a high temperature when vacationing during the summer. Some might even say to just shut it off while you’re gone. Doing that can save energy, so that makes some sense. However, I still disagree – to an extent. In the summer, you need enough cooler air flow to keep the humidity down in your home. Otherwise, you’re just asking for moisture problems. I set my thermostat around 78 degrees when we leave for an extended period during summertime. You can still help save on energy by shutting blinds and curtains to keep the sunlight from warming the home.

Also, keep interior doors open while you’re away. Sounds odd maybe. But again, to prevent moisture build up and general stuffiness in the house when you get back, leave the doors to the bedrooms and bathrooms open. Kids may shut their doors when they’re home, but not all the time. We’re always in and out of rooms when we’re home. But shutting a room up for a few days or a week will just make that air stuffy. Keep the air flowing throughout every room. Walk in the door after some time away and the air still feels fresh.

Whether taking an extended trip or maybe just a getaway for a couple of days, we want to keep the home-front safe and secure.