It’s that time of year – families go out of town for Spring Break! J.C. Restoration has some tips to consider, so you don’t come home to a disaster. (But if you do – you know who to call!)
1. Hold Your Mail
A huge pile of mail on the front doorstep, or envelopes pouring out your mail slot is an instant tip-off that no one’s home. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, go to the post office to place a hold on your mail. Put a hold on your daily paper, too. If you don’t have the time or inclination, ask a trusted neighbor to collect the goods daily.
Beyond setting your lights on a timer, you can also set the television and radio on a timer to create the typical noise and flickering lights of an average family home at night. Or, leave a car in the driveway. Arrange for someone to mow at least once a week (an unruly lawn is as bad as a pile of mail). If you normally leave toys outside, or keep a hose unrolled, or do anything that shows signs of a home being lived in, don’t tidy up too much before you leave.
3. Mum’s the Word
Never, ever announce your departure or vacation dates on social networks. Sharing settings are not foolproof and with new security updates it’s always hard to tell what’s public and what’s private. Stay on the safe side, and don’t mention your trip – until you’re back, with tales to tell and photos to upload!
4. Trust a Friend
Give your vacation contact info and a spare key to at least one friend or neighbor. That way, they’ll know how to contact you in case of emergency.
5. Advertise Your Security
Especially when you’re away, it can be a great idea to advertise your security measures. If you’re worried that alarm company signs will clue thieves in to how to break in, buy signs from a different company. Install fake security cameras (the kind that look authentic). Do whatever it takes to get across the message, “This is not the home you are looking for.”
Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) to protect your home from an electrical fire or power surge. This goes for the big stuff, like TVs, but also for your toaster, your coffee maker, and other small appliances.
7. Safe-Keep Your Valuables
Lock up jewelry, the deed to your home, wills, and any other valuables or sensitive documents in a fire-proof safe.
8. Alert Your Alarm Company
Call your home security company to let them know you’ll be away. Make sure all of the door and window alarms are set and working when you leave.
9. Prevent Water Damage
Shut off the main water valve. Turn off the hot-water tank and drain it. During winter, set the thermostat high enough to prevent frozen pipes.
10. To guard against fire and electrical damage
Make sure the fireplace is cool and no embers remain. Unplug appliances and extension cords. Never store combustibles near natural gas water heaters or furnaces. Close interior doors – if a fire starts, that will limit its oxygen supply and keep flames from spreading quickly.