As winter break is nearing, many of us start planning those sun vacations. Whether you’re planning on getting away over the winter break or are heading away this year, keep your home safe and protected with these helpful tips:
1. Make it look like someone is home.
In most cases an intruder will not attempt a break-in if it looks like someone is home. The best way to give the appearance that people are home is through smart lighting. Companies that offer home automation can provide a range of home automation technology and home security, including a programmable lighting system. You can have certain lights in your home turn on in the evening to make it appear like you’re home from work. You can also control your lighting from your mobile phone, even while you are enjoying the sun on a distant beach! Learn more about custom-built home security systems.
Not looking to install home automation in your home? A more cost-effective solution is purchasing outlet timers from your local hardware store. These inexpensive timers will allow you to set your lights to turn on and off during certain times of the day. Make sure you have them actually turn off at night. Having your lights on all day and night is a tell-tale sign that no one is home.
2. Turn off the water.
You never know what can go wrong with your plumbing system while you are on vacation. A leaky pipe or a faulty hot water tank could cause major water damage while you are away. Alberta’s weather is very unexpected and we can still experience winter like weather. Since we live in a cold climate, you also have to worry about your pipes freezing, bursting and flooding your house. In addition to turning off your water to minimize damage should a problem occur, you should also have a friend or family member check your house every few days. Not only will they be able to detect problems before they become a major issue, most insurance companies will not cover damaged caused by frozen or burst pipes unless you had someone checking in on your house.
3. Monitor your heat.
While it’s a good idea to turn down the thermostat to save energy and reduce your heating bill while you are away, you want to make sure your house is still well heated. The main reason for this is to prevent water and your pipes from freezing. The last thing you want is to come home to frozen pipes and ice blocks in the toilet and hot water tank. The most cost-effective way to monitor your heat while you are away is to install a wireless thermostat that you can monitor and program from your mobile phone or device while you are on vacation. Learn how to install a digital thermostat.
4. Lock and secure your windows and doors.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but locking windows is something that can slip your mind while you’re busy getting ready to go on holiday. Statistics from the United States have shown that nearly 30 percent of all home invasions are unforced entry, meaning the intruder likely came in easily through an unlocked window or door.
You can also reinforce your windows and sliding patio doors with a dowel security bar. If your entry doors are older and damaged, it might be worth it to replace them with newer, more secure doors from exterior door companies. Not only will you increase your home security, you’ll also benefit from improved energy efficiency and increased property value.
5. Secure the garage door.
Most homes have an attached garage with a front-facing garage door. Make it more difficult for intruders to enter from your home from your garage by unplugging the electric garage door opener. You can also secure your garage by installing a padlock on the overhead door latch and putting a thick bolt through the track of the door to make entry impossible.
After taking these safety and security precautions, it is still important to tell your neighbours or a friend that you will not be home. They can keep an eye on your house for you and can help make it look like people are home by keeping your parked vehicles, driveway and walkways clear of snow. Enjoy your vacation and have peace of mind knowing your home is protected while you are away.
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