Summer is just around the corner and often that means a vacation. Here is a check list of things to do before leaving for some well earned rest and relaxation. Come back to a catastrophic flood or missing valuables, and your well rested attitude will be replaced with disappointment and frustration.
Inside the house
1. Turn down the ringer on your phone and turn off all alarm clocks, as well as, power to computers, TVs and other electronics to keep your electric bill low and to avoid damage from power surges.
2. Put lights on timers, both inside and out. Replicate your schedule as closely as possible.
3. Leave your blinds and curtains open, exactly as you keep them when you are home. It allows police and neighbors to see inside. Make sure anything valuable is either in a safe deposit box, or safely hidden away.
4. Leave your air conditioner or furnace on in order to avoid costly damage due to humidity, cold or heat. If you have a programmable thermostat, in the summer set it at 85 degrees while you are gone and then 72 degrees the day before you return.
5. Check your sump pump to make sure it is working properly. Turn off the water supply to washing machines or dish washers so that hoses don’t burst and cause damage.
Outside The House
1. Lock up lawn mowers, bicycles and other tools in the garage or shed so they don’t disappear.
2. If you have a spare key hidden outside, take it inside or give it to a neighbor for safe keeping.
3. Unplug your garage door opener and make sure all doors into the garage are locked. Put a clamp on the garage door track so that the door can’t be opened manually.
4. Don’t leave a portable GPS in your car at the airport. It will tell thieves that you’re not home and how to get to your house.
Friends and Family
1. Don’t talk about your trip online and tell your kids not to talk about it either. Burglars often troll Facebook and other social media sites looking for opportunities.
2. Ask someone to take your trash cans out and bring them in. If agreeable, this person could also collect your mail, take care of pets, water plants, and park their car in the driveway to make your home look lived in. You can also go online and ask the US Post Office to hold your mail until you’re home.
3. Tell the Police and Neighborhood Watch you are going out of town so that they can keep an eye on things.
5. Make sure neighbors who are watching the house know about scheduled services like pool or lawn services. Burglars often masquerade as workers around the house.
Prepare your house properly and you can take your vacation with peace of mind, knowing that when your trip is over, you’ll be glad to be home.