Handy at Home

Home Security While Away

March 2017
Posted

Warmer temperatures, budding trees and blooming flowers are all lovely parts of spring, but what you really look forward to is the start of vacation planning season. But before you pack up to leave on your getaway, be sure to take care of your home.

While you’re savoring the fun of your vacation planning, here are some steps you also should take to prepare your home to remain secure while you’re away:

• Stop the mail: Home safety experts agree: a stuffed mailbox is a sign of an empty home. The United States Postal Service allows you to request a vacation hold on your mail up to 30 days before your departure date. Go to holdmail.usps.com to see if this service is available in your area. You should also put newspaper and package delivery on hold, too, as uncollected newspapers or parcels in front of your house could also alert others that you’re not home.

• Turn off water and gas: If a water or gas leak occurs while you’re not there to address it, the emergency could cause significant damage to your home. You can reduce risks by turning off water flow to appliances like the clothes washer. To conserve energy and money, you can also turn off the gas flow to your water heater.

• Put lights on timers or sensors: A well-lit home looks lived in and is less appealing to burglars. Put outside lights on sensors so they’ll turn on when the sun goes down. Use timers to turn interior lights on and off at appropriate times.

• Power down electronic devices: Items like computers, TVs and phone chargers all draw power while plugged in, even if they’re not switched on. Turn off and unplug electronic devices to reduce power usage in the house and protect electronics from power surges while you’re away.

• Secure the garage: This is especially important if your home has an attached garage with direct access into your home. Most garage doors have a simple bolt lock that can be engaged from inside to prevent the door from being raised. Remember to also lock the door from the garage into your house.

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