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Tips for securing your home when you go on vacation

Posted by Ken Bianchi on August 08, 2013

A family that goes away on a trip can render their home vulnerable to intrusion and theft if prudent preparations are not made. A much anticipated vacation can be brought to a screeching halt with the startling news of a home invasion. Coming home to find a ransacked house with damaged and missing valuables can transform the home from a peaceful refuge to a place that renders the family feeling anxious and uncomfortable. Unprotected homes that are invaded cause increased homeowner insurance rates that reach unbelievable levels. Summer is the quintessential season for family vacations and subsequently home invasions and thefts in unoccupied dwellings. Following a few reasonable guidelines can bolster the home's security and allow homeowners to enjoy a worry-free vacation.

Tips for Securing the Home
  • Locking the house seems very simplistic, but many of the home's access areas can be easily overlooked. Every outside door should be fitted with a deadbolt and each window needs to be securely fastened and locked. Other accesses to the home such as pet doors or storm entries need to checked to be sure that they are not vulnerable to attempts at forced entry. Home security systems provide an ideal safety net, and homes that advertise that systems are in place are often avoided by potential burglars.
  • Notifying one's neighbors of an upcoming trip is a great way to have a few extra eyes on the home. An informed neighbor that knows a family is on vacation will be suspicious if a service or moving truck suddenly appears at the empty home.
  • Reducing the output of unused utilities is a good idea when leaving the home for vacation. In the summer, the temperature for the air conditioning system should be raised to avoid unnecessary cooling costs while away.
  • Timers for both indoor and outdoor lighting can be purchased at any hardware store. After an easy installation, the timers are set to turn lights on and off to create an appearance that the homeowners are in the house.
  • Nothing gives a bigger hint that a family is away than a yard full of newspapers and an overflowing mailbox. Before leaving on vacation, homeowners should contact their newspaper company and mail service to request a temporary halt to delivery.
  • Depending on the length of the trip, the family should hire a service to mow the lawn at least once and possibly twice for longer vacations.
  • Many individuals make the mistake of announcing an upcoming trip on social media websites. Though the message is often only intended for close friends and relatives, many other people have access to publicly posted messages. Unless a posting is sent privately, not only do an individual's friends have access to the post, but also the friends' additional connections that are often unknown to the original author. Vacationers should wait until they arrive home to post pictures and messages of the trip on social media. Postings that are made on the trip give a green light to potential thieves that the family is still away.

Home Automation

Homeowners now have access to home automation technology that allows them to remotely communicate with their home's security system. While away, families can control systems that have been integrated in the home such as the thermostat, dead bolts, small appliances and lights. The system can be accessed from any computer or smartphone with internet capability. If a home's doors are unlocked, a message is immediately sent to the homeowner via computer or smartphone. If the security system is disarmed, or motion is detected, the lights in the house immediately turn on.

Families can enjoy a trip away from home and be confident that the house is secure by implementing a few simple safety measures. Securing the home and employing the watchful eyes of neighbors can help thwart a devastating home invasion. Homeowners that utilize the latest technology in home security can control and monitor the home's security features while away, and where internet access is available.