Thinking about a long trip this spring break? For true peace of mind, you need to make sure all is safe on the home front while you’re away. Every year, U.S. burglary victims lose more than $4 billion in property. Internet monitoring helps, but homeowners need to be savvy about security.
Experts – even reformed burglars – have sounded the alarm about how criminals choose houses to rob. Most serial burglars are risk-averse: neighborhoods may be cased for weeks before the easiest “score” is selected … and nothing is easier than an unoccupied home.
Having someone you trust keep an eye on your home is a great way to protect it. Still, there are steps that help make would-be bandits unaware a home is unoccupied. Likewise, you should prepare your home so maintenance issues don’t crop up while you’re away.
Let’s consider four steps you should take before vacation:
1) Secure Your Water Lines and Plumbing Fixtures
Leaks and floods can cause serious damage fast. To reduce flood risk, shut off your main water valve. If the valve feeds into your sprinkler system, be sure to have a bypass valve put in before you consider the job done.
Drain your toilet by shutting off the main valve on the toilet’s supply line. For each toilet, check near the base of the bowl on the wall behind it. Hold down the valve’s trip lever until you see the bowl and tank have both drained about 90% of the way.
If you’re going to be away longer than a week, turn off the boiler. Electric boilers have a control panel with a main shutoff switch, while gas heaters have a valve to tighten until the flow of gas stops.
2) Disconnect Your Appliances and Electronic Devices
By turning off the power to everything you can, you’ll save on electricity. For long trips, you should even consider emptying and unplugging your refrigerator. Electronics that won’t be unplugged should be routed into a surge protector.
To keep your home safe from fire, switch off major circuits from the breaker panel. Now’s a great time to test and label your breakers if you’re unsure which is which! If you have motion-sensitive security lights, be sure their circuit stays active.
3) Minimize Signs Your Home is Unoccupied
Telltale signs your home is not in use are catnip to criminals. The best thing you can do is ensure someone you trust keeps an eye on the house. A few short visits from friends or neighbors at different times of day discourages crime.
Inform your post office about your trip so your mail can be held. If you subscribe to the newspaper or other deliveries, pause these or have a friend pick them up. If away more than two weeks, schedule lawn maintenance so the home appears used.
4) Ensure Your Security System Has Monitoring Enabled
Internet monitoring simplifies home security. You can stay connected to your home and know right away if someone tries to gain access. You’ll be able to activate “Panic Mode” at will and summon help for your home no matter where you are.
Make sure your home security system has internet monitoring and you know how to tap into it from your mobile device. And don’t forget to check your email for security notifications regularly so you can take action if needed.
Call Actio today for the home security system trusted for over 45 years.