For many people, the best part of the holiday season is spending quality time with friends and family. If you live in another state or city, that might involve packing up, locking up your house, and heading out of town for a few days or weeks.
However, before you leave home, it is important to make sure your property is protected while you are away, particularly if you’re taking an extended vacation.
Let’s look at some of the things you need to do to ensure that your safe haven stays exactly that: safe.
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? This most basic step is so obvious that many people overlook it. Ensure that you lock every door and window in your house and double-check them before you go. If you don’t have one already, you may want to consider fitting deadbolts to your doors for an extra layer of protection.
Set Your Lights on a Timer
If you have Christmas lights, put them on an automatic timer while you are out of town. You can set the timer so that your lights come on at a specific time every night, making it seem like you are at home to anyone who may be watching your house. Smart technology makes this step much easier today, allowing you to give the illusion of being home while not using too much electricity.
With all that being said, you should take a close look at any stretches of Christmas lights before putting them on a timer. Frayed cables are a possible fire risk, so if you find signs of significant wear in your decorations, it is time to throw them away and buy in some new ones.
Think about putting a few indoor lights on timers as well to help make your home look full of life even though you are not there. (Just ask Kevin from Home Alone—it can do the trick to keep burglars away!)
Set Your Water Heater to Vacation Mode
Many people would automatically turn their water off if they left their house unattended for an extended period, as this seems the most logical thing to do, right? WRONG! If there is a sudden drop in temperatures and the pipes freeze up, not having any water running through them can cause them to burst from frozen standing water inside them.
This is going to generate significant amounts of damage and hassle for you to come home to (especially once the pipes thaw and you have water damage to deal with). Although a reliable plumbing company could provide water heater repairs in Altadena, it’s best to avoid that route altogether.
Instead, switch your water heater to vacation mode. This will decrease the water’s temperature running through the pipes, saving you money but keeping the water’s temperature at a steady 55–60 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the pipes from freezing.
If you choose to lower your home’s heating, you should also leave it at at least a temperature of 55 degrees.
Put Your Mail on Hold
Piles of newspapers and correspondence on the doorstep or hanging out of the mailbox are surefire signs that no one is at home and a big flag for burglars during the holidays. You should be able to put your mail on hold by calling your local post office and requesting that they hold your mail until the specified date of your return.
If you’re friendly with your neighbors, alternatively, you could simply ask a neighbor to watch out for mail or packages as they come and keep them safe until you arrive. A good neighbor could also keep an eye on your house for other suspicious activities.
The last thing anyone wants after a relaxing location is to come home to find your home has been damaged or robbed. These steps will help you to decrease a few of those risks.