It's that time of year! It's starting to get colder, holidays are coming up, and if you're planning on skipping town and catching some sun, or getting some new views in, here's a few tips for securing your home before you travel!
1. Depending on your mailbox situation, you might want t consider holding off any subscriptions such as newspapers or magazines, in order to prevent over-stuffed mail boxes which can signal burglars that nobody is home!
2. Whether it's the spring, summer, fall, or winter, your homes exterior may need some ongoing maintenance for longer trips. If you're going to be away for more than a few weeks, we highly recommend connecting with reputable landscaping companies to cover snow removal, grass cutting, etc.
3. Don't get surged! If your electronics aren't on surge protectors, we'd recommend mitigating the risk of potential damage and/or electrical fire risk, by having these items unplugged during your vacation.
4. Prevent pipes from leaking! Ensure certain pipes in vulnerable locations like attics, basements, and crawlspaces are well insulated. You can also utilize technology to your advantage with remote controlled thermostats that ensure your heating is set to keep the house warm, but not not too hot.
5. Don't broadcast it! We know its tempting to share everything online today, but it's not worth the risk of tipping off a criminal who can find out where you live giving them free reign of your home while your thousands of kilometers away.
6. Consider some automated exterior and interior lighting solutions. Set lights on timers to deter burglars, giving the illusion that somebody is home, or utilize smart technology to remotely manage your homes lighting system, changing it up every so often so your lighting isn't predictable!
7. Although it may not be as common in today's world, if you have a spare key hidden outside the house, you might want to bring it while you're gone. Also remember that although you've most likely hidden it in odd and hard to find places, chances are criminals will know to look in these places too! We highly recommend digital locks, these can be activated via bluetooth proximity, can be given day codes, or one time use (in the case of an emergency) and removes some key clutter.
8. Home monitoring systems have never been more affordable, this doesn't mean you need an elaborate setup through alarm system providers, even small individual wi-fi cameras are very affordable allowing you to login and visually see the home yourself! If you have pets, there are even pet specific cameras that allow you to speak to them, pan around the room, and toss treats to them in some instances! If you're leaving your pets at home during the holidays and have someone taking care of them this is a great way to make sure they're in good hands!
Finally some quick other tips to help with your homes security while you're away!
- Install a motion sensor light in the front and back or other vulnerable areas, this type of deterrent could be enough for a 'would be' thief to move along.
- Warning signs (Pets on premises), security, etc are often major deterrents for criminals as they become more challenging to break into and criminals prefer easier targets.
- Secure your valuables in safes.
- If you have a good relationship with neighbors, let them know and ask them to keep an eye on your home.
- Consider turning off and draining water to prevent leaks, this could be done right at individual fixtures depending on your home, and turning down your water heater.
- The basics, make sure all windows, doors, and points of entry are locked and secured!
We also recommend connecting with your insurance company, obtain in writing what constitutes a property that is vacant! You may need to have a friend, family member or someone you trust check in on the home periodically while you're away. Typically we recommend home owners do this regardless as a small leak could be caught, plants can be watered, and major surprises can be caught.
If you have any tips for Calgary home owners who are heading out for the holidays, sound off in the comments below!