Protecting Your Home While You're Away
It's always a good
idea to get a house sitter when you're on a trip.
But if that's not possible, there are steps you
can take to protect your home while you're away.
(You will still need to enlist someone's help,
though.) The following tips will help keep your
home safe from theft and damage while you're
- Never leave an
outgoing answering machine message saying
you're away, it's dangerous to make that
information public knowledge.
- Arrange for
someone to do seasonal maintenance while
you're gone, such as mowing, raking, or snow
removal. Letting the yard work go is a sure
sign no one's home.
- Have a friend or
neighbor collect your mail and newspapers for
you. It's often possible to call the post
office and newspaper circulation desks to
arrange for delivery to be suspended while
you're away. But they won't always get the
dates exactly right, especially if you call at
short notice. A real, live mail collector can
also keep advertising fliers and other
deliveries from piling up.
- Put timers on
lights. Yes, having the lights on when no
one's home is a little wasteful. But you can
partially compensate by making sure you've
turned off appliances that are often left on,
such as computers, VCRs, and microwave ovens.
(If you can consume all your perishables
before you leave, you may even be able to turn
off your refrigerator while you're away.)
that door and window locks work properly,
especially in older homes where doors and
windows may not fit tightly anymore.
- Make sure your
smoke detector is functioning.
- Remember that
water expands when frozen. If you live in a
place where the temperature may dip into the
thirties, keep the heat on just enough to
ensure that pipes won't freeze and burst.
- Tell someone
where you've gone. As luxurious as it may
sound to take a vacation from phone calls,
make sure at least one person knows where you
are so you can be reached in an emergency.