Keeping My Home Safe

Tips on how to make sure your home is secure when your away.

You've packed your luggage and booked your itinerary, but before you board the plane, take the time to secure your home. August and July are popular holiday months, and not surprisingly, they're also the months when home burglaries sky rocket.

To fully enjoy your trip, plan to secure your home while on vacation with this checklist.

Inside the House

· Set timers on interior lights. This goes a long way in deterring criminals. Do not allow your home to appear as though no one is there.

· Prevent Electricity surges. Whether a power surge may occur, so be prepared, you never know. Disconnect TV, the computer, stereo, and other electronic equipment, or make sure that they are plugged into a surge protector.

· Don't make telltale updates. Never broadcast your location on Twitter or Facebook. Even if you think it's just your friends or colleagues viewing your online profiles, it is safest not to leave any sort of opening for a potential burglar.

· Alert your alarm company. If you have an automated security system set up, call your representative, announcing you will be away from home for an extended time period. Make sure the alarm is set properly once you leave.

· Keep valuables safe. If you don't already have your jewelry or other valuables in a safe deposit box, today may be the opportunity to do so. Doing so ensures you don't leave anything out precious in plain sight a burglar might have the ability to see out of a window.

· Place the HVAC. Decide on a programmable thermostat to reduce your heat or ac usage and remember to change the thermostat's battery life.

· Shield your Plumbing. Make certain pipes in vulnerable areas such as attics, basements, and crawlspaces are insulated. In unusually cold weather, set your thermostat at 55 degrees or over. Request a neighbor or trusted friend to stop by and check on the home and occasionally turn on the faucets to guarantee the pipes do not freeze.

· It May seem obvious, but double-check just to be sure. Lock all doors and windows.

Outside the House

· Arrange for lawn care. Have your landscaping tended to by a friendly neighbor or service that is neighborhood. Before you leave, trimming tree branches which may allow access.

· Stop newspapers and Email. Stop mail and newspaper deliveries, or even possess them often picked up by a neighbor. Again, you do not need to easily clue at a burglar to your absence by the mounting papers in your doorstep.

· Plan some Outside lighting. Place these lights on timers to deter burglars.

· Don't leave spare keys Outside. Collect any concealed spare keys from around the outside of your home. Bear in mind, burglars know the hottest hiding places, such as underneath mats and in aquatic plants.

· Lock the garage. Even if there is no entrance to your house by the garage, there's still an opportunity for numerous things to be stolen. Secure the door and any entrances to the garage.

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