How To Protect Your Home When Traveling During The Winter
It’s that time of year again. We are traveling across the country to spend time with family on Christmas and booking vacations to places that allow us to unwind and defrost. However, you can’t simply turn off the lights, lock the doors, and leave your home as is.
To give you peace of mind while enjoying your time away, and to avoid unforeseen disaster to your home, we have put together a guide on how to protect your home while traveling.
Always “Be Home”
Even if you live in the safest of neighborhoods, burglary is always a potential threat. The best way to do this is to:
- Set timers on the lights in main areas of your home.
- Leave a radio on.
Having your lights on at all times is unnatural and a dead giveaway that you are gone, so make sure to have lights turn on and off at varied times of the day.
Also, hire or ask a neighbor to shovel/snowblow your driveway while you are gone. If someone is scoping out your home and notices it hasn’t been cleared of snow, they are likely to know you haven’t been home. This is also relieves the pain of returning home to a wall of snow in your driveway.
Turn The Water Off
Water damage due to frozen pipes, dripping water heaters, and leaking supply lines are some of the biggest issues we deal with in the winter. And in most cases, the damage occured while the homeowner was away on vacation.
The best way to protect your home from catastrophic water damage is to shut off the main water valve. This valve controls all the water for your home and should be turned off anytime you travel. Simply turn on a faucet in your home, shut off the main valve, and leave faucet open (open faucet will relieve built-up pressure).
Let A Neighbor Know
Asking a trusted neighbor to periodically check on your home and keep a look out for any suspicious activity is one of the best ways to prevent anything disastrous from happening. These are your eyes and ears while away.
Provide this neighbor with a spare key to your home, contact information, and any maintenance instructions you need them to take care of. If you don’t have any neighbors you can count on, have a close friend or family member check on the home periodically.
Social Media Discipline
We know vacations are a gold mine for social media posts. And we aren’t saying they shouldn’t be. However, we recommend showing some restraint when it comes to posting pictures WHILE ON vacation. We have encountered numerous cases in which a homeowner believed their social media posts led to a thief knowing they weren’t home.
If you are going to post pictures while on vacation, make sure only friends can see your posts.
In order to avoid electrical fire and power surges, unplug all unnecessary appliances. These appliances include TV’s, coffee makers, toasters, lamps, modems, clocks, etc. However, DO NOT turn off your thermostats. Depending on the length of time you are gone and the temperature forecast, turning off the heat to your home could lead to frozen pipes. Simply turn the heat down slightly.
Stop The Mail
Before you leave, place a stop order on your mail or arrange someone to pick it up each day. Not only will you save yourself from the frustration of coming home to a packed mailbox, you will also prevent potential burglars from knowing you aren’t home.
Lock It Up
The most obvious, but often forgotten, step is to make sure all entrances to your home are locked. You would be amazed by the number of people who take care of everything else on this list and then simply forget to lock their doors. Additionally, remove any hidden spare keys. Burglars know where to look.
The winter travel season is meant to relieve yourself of stress and worry. Knowing how to protect your home when travelling is crucial to this peace of mind. Follow our guide and enjoy yourself.