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Home away from home…summer time is a time to travel for many families. You may be flying to Hawaii or taking a cruise on an ocean cruise liner. What an exciting time to spend with your family and friends! It’s also a much needed vacation from work!
Your home away from home is your hotel room for days, weeks or a month. With all the excitement, it’s easy to overlook issues that can cost you dearly when you return from your trip.
You probably know someone who experienced this. A friend or relative who came home to find their home was broken into and valuable possessions been stolen. How about coming home and finding your home flooded with water from a broken water supply line? Although, these kind of events are unfortunate, you can take steps to protect your house while traveling.
Avoid Social Media Posting
What does social media have to do with your travel plans? Of course, traveling is exciting when you can share the fun with your friends and family on social media. However, did you stop to think what is happening when you’re posting about your trip? You are advertising that your family is away and inviting your home to robbers!
You never know or have control with who is viewing your post on the receiving end. Yes, it’s your friend viewing your post. But what about your friend sharing with his friend (who just got out of jail) about your trip to Hawaii?
Never post the timeline for your trip. Doing so gives unauthorized viewers of your postings a time line to go through your property. Be the smart individual! If you are going to post about your trip, post when your return home. You can still the fun after the trip! You certainly don’t want to be labeled as the “dumb” one if your home gets robbed.
Home Away From Home – Secure Your House
If you have a home security system, that is a plus for you! Even if you have a surveillance camera system, you can monitor the activity happening in and around your house.
There are still ways to protect your home if you don’t have the home security system. Before you leave, confirm that back and front entry doors are locked securely. See that windows are secured and locked. Cut a wood dowel to fit a window’s sliding track is an extra measure to secure windows from sliding open.
Use electrical timers to turn on lamps on and off in different rooms throughout your house. These lights give the appearance that people are home. You can also have timers operate radios to turn on and off in different rooms.
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Several days before your trip, do routine maintenance around the home. Trim shrubs around your home. Overgrown shrubs are good hiding places for burglars. Mow the yard also. A house that is well maintained gives the appearance that the home owners are active residence.
Be sure to check that outdoor lights are operating. Motion sensor lights should be activating when movement is detected within the range of lights. Repair or replace bulbs or fixtures that are inoperable.
Check Your Large Appliances
Check the temperature of your refrigerator. Temperatures above the manufacturer’s specified temperature for your refrigerator is a possible sign fridge may be breaking down. Normal operating temperatures for the refrigerator range from mid-30’s to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The freezer will be zero degrees Fahrenheit or below.
A refrigerator will show signs that it’s breaking down. Refrigerated foods spoil quicker or refrigerated drinks don’t seem that cold. These are signs fridge is taking a downturn. This is an issue you want to take care of before leaving for your trip.
It’s a horrible experience to return from a long trip to find flies swarming around outside your kitchen windows. You enter your house and a nauseating stench of rotting meats and foods is overwhelming! The rotting stench is a challenge to get rid of in a home. A quick check of your refrigerator’s temperature will give you an idea of its operating status.
Do a visual check around your water heater. Things to look for are puddles of water and rusted panels on heater. These are signs of possible leaks within the tank or the plumbing fittings. If these water leaks are visible, have it repaired before departing for your trip.
Confirm that your stove is off before departing for your trip. Cooking a meal before a trip can save you some money. It can also be very costly if you never check that the stove is completely off.
Check other large appliances like air conditioners and heaters that they are turned off before leaving for your trip.
Before a trip we turn off water valves under sinks and toilets. The purpose is to avoid the possibility that braided water supply lines may burst. If the water supply lines under sinks and toilets haven’t been changed over a decade, damaging water leaks can occur.
There are two families we know of that experienced this situation. They were on trip and returned home to a flooded home. Water damages were in the tens of thousands of dollars!
Like the water heater above, do a quick check under your sinks and toilets for water puddles. If you have the time, have leaks repaired or supply lines replaced. If unsure when departing, just turn off all the valves and continue repairs when returning home. Turn off supply valves at washing machine also.
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Save on electricity! Check to see that electrical appliances are turned off or unplugged. Turn off ceiling fans that are on. Forgetting to turn off electrical appliances can turn to an expensive electric bill when returning home.
Put a hold on your mail
Before you leave for your trip, you can put a hold on your mail from being delivered to your residence. Visit: https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/ and fill out the form to hold and resume your postal deliveries.
Communicate to your neighbor about your trip schedule. Ask them to look out after your home to be sure there is nothing unusual happening at your house. When you come home, bring a small gift for your neighbor to say thank you! Some ideas for gifts: a pouch of exotic coffee or chocolates from your trip destination.
Keep the tips above in mind. Especially, if you have an older home, things like supply pipes under your sinks age and deteriorate. Be proactive prior to your trip, do quick inspections and do a review of your home.
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