Planning a winter vacation?
And truly, I do understand that there are a millions things to cover off before heading out. A word of caution, when compiling your ‘trip-to-do’ list, don’t forget those tasks that will keep your home safe and secure during the holidays.
It’s no fun being asked if you remembered to lock the back door – when you are seated on the plane. Cover off these five key areas and you can probably set your mind at ease when vacationing.
1. KEEP UP APPEARANCES –
The key is to make it seem like someone is actually home while you are away. And the best way to do that, short of hiring a house sitter is to ensure that your home doesn’t look like its empty.
Suspending delivery services such as the newspaper or mail is a good idea. Home services such as landscaping is a different matter. If it snows, even if you aren’t there to appreciate it, arrange to have your walks shoveled and your car cleaned of snow.
Arrange to have your garbage bins taken to the curb and returned in a timely fashion – even if the bins are empty. It will give the impression that there is someone at home.
Inside and outside light timers and motion sensors give the impression that your home is occupied. The key though is to make sure your lights are operating just like you were there. Having lights on a 2AM on a week-night or during all daylight hours will give a false impression.
In addition to lights, sound can help keep-up appearances. There are now sophisticated programs that will manage your TV.
2. HIRE A HOUSE SITTER –
And, it might be just wise to hire a house sitter. Whether regular visits or as a live-in, they can also take of your pets, plants and the other regular chores that may fall to friends, family or neighbours.
3. LET YOUR NEIGHBOURS KNOW –
Even if you hardly know them, best to let a few trusted neighbours know that the family will be away and whether or not you’ve hired a house sitter. Your community has a vested interest in keeping your home safe. Consider leaving a key and emergency contact.
As for your virtual neighbours, it might be wise to avoid sharing specific trip details on social media – before or during your trip. Burglars have been known to peruse social media sites to see who might be away.
4. LOCK-IT-UP –
Having a last minute security checklist will guarantee that the backdoor has indeed been locked!
Identify those areas of your home that require special attention such as sliding glass doors, or basement windows. Taking extra steps like adding a wooden dowel in the tracks of a sliding door when the door is shut, will make your home a less desirable target.
It’s a good idea to leave a few shades open so that your home doesn’t look completely abandoned. However, remove any valuables such as lap-tops, flat-screen TV or another type of pricey gear to avoid a smash-and-grab-type burglaries.
If you haven’t already, perhaps this is a good time to install a home security system – one step to deter home invasions.
5. SEAL-IT-UP –
Disconnect unnecessary appliances, such as computers, televisions (unless it’s on a timer) and coffee makers, to avoid excessive energy use. Your appliances will also be protected from any electrical power surges.
If you anticipate a cold frost, pipes and water appliances should be drained so they don’t freeze or burst when you are gone. Turn off the main water supply and open the taps to drain out the water. This doesn’t include the water heater.
Program the thermostat to run around 16 degrees Celsius to keep the pipes and appliances from freezing. Tightly seal the windows and doors to prevent excess condensation on the inside of the home.
Keeping the blinds shut and curtains drawn will trap warm air indoors, and increase the energy efficiency in your home.
If you haven’t had your home winter-serviced by your HVAC/Plumbing yet, it might be wise to have your system service before heading out. A professional contractor may also have some good advice on keeping your home safe in the winter.
If you know your home is well attended and has been protected, you’ll be able to really kick-back and enjoy your vacation!
Karen Paul & Associates | Real Estate
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