Travel Advice - Conduct a "house security check" before you depart
During the last minute rush to leave home for vacation, many travelers are so focused on getting to the airport that they forget to button up their home. Make sure to take some time to review our house checklist before you depart. It is best to think about securing your house several days in advance of your departure, in case you need to purchase any of the devices we mention.
As near departure as convenient, take the actions described below.
1. Set the thermostat back to a cool level if it is winter and a warmer level if it is summer. There is no advantage to excessively warming a cold house or excessively cooling a war house.
2. If you will be gone longer than a week, consider lowering the thermostat on the water heater. Most modern water heaters have a vacation setting for energy conservation.
3. Make sure to unplug “quick-on” appliances like televisions or PC’s before you leave. Your TV and PC may have a power system that constantly draws current, even when turned- off to allow for quick start-up. "Quick-on" systems can cause fires, even when turned off,
4. Unplug any lamps, radios, computers and other devices not related to home security.
5. Close and lock all windows and doors. You can air the house out when you return home.
6. If you are leaving your car at home, make sure to park it in the garage, lock it, and set the security system.
7. Set your home security system if you have one.
8. Set several lamps on a variable lighting schedule to give the appearance that the house is occupied, even though you are on vacation.
9. Leave a house key with a trusted neighbor or relative in case you need someone to access something in your house while you are on vacation.
10. If you live in a cold climate, power failures can lead to lack of heating and, possibly, frozen pipes.
11. Cancel your newspapers for the duration of your vacation and arrange for the Postal Service to "hold" your mail until your return. Newspapers in the driveway and an overflowing mailbox let everyone know you are not home.
12. If you mow your lawn, arrange to have someone else you trust perform this service while you are away. If you pay someone to mow your lawn, let them continue the service but do not tell them you will be away.
13. Arrange for a trusted neighbor to put out and retrieve your trash barrels, if you need to have them emptied while you are away.
14. On departure day, after you have loaded the bags and your fellow travelers into your transportation, re-enter the house and make one final check of power plugs, appliances, windows and a doors.
Note: The security of your home is your obligation. Our recommendations may not be comprehensive or appropriate for all homes or use by all homeowners. Contact local authorities or a professional security firm for the "best practices" in your neighborhood.