How to Protect Your Home While You're Away

Posted by Tom Mellish, Executive Director, IRTA on Nov 6, 2018 7:04:00 AM

Many of you will be heading out for the holidays or going south or west as a snowbird during the cold weather months.

You should take a little precaution to protect your home during your absence. Here are a few tips to help deter burglars and make your home look occupied:


  • Install motion detector lights in some less visible areas of your house or yard.

  • Ask someone to look after your yard and to dispose of flyers and newspapers.

  • Have a neighbor park his or her car in your driveway off and on to give the impression your house is occupied.

  • Put some timers on your interior lights so that they go off and on. Houses that are dark or appear to always have lights on draw unwanted attention.

  • Have your mail held or forwarded to your new location. Ask a trusted friend or family member to pick it up if you are going to be gone for a shorter time period.

You also should make certain your house is maintained while you are away. For example:

  • Ask a friend or family member to visit your home regularly and do some jobs such as watering plants.

  • The day of departure set the heating or cooling system to economy mode and activate the light timers.

  • Turn down your water heater temperature or turn it off, if you are going to be away for an extended period.

  • Turn off water supply to washing machine and dishwasher.

  • Make certain all of your doors are locked.

  • If you are away during the winter open kitchen cabinet doors that are under the sink and in your bathrooms, especially if the waterlines are near an outside wall.

  • Make sure all trash cans are empty and the garbage disposal has been run and is clear.

Here are some other tips that will make your trip a little easier:

  • Make sure licenses, passports and other personal documents don’t expire while you are gone. You may want to make photocopies and place in a safe place in case you lose the originals on your trip.

  • Make sure you have enough money in your account if your bills are automatically deducted or make arrangements to pay your bills online.

  • Make sure family members have your itinerary, length of your stay, along with contact numbers.

  • Make sure prescriptions are up to date or you have enough to last through your trip.

Have a relaxing time and safe travels.

Topics: Safety

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