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5 Must-Do Chores Before You Leave on a Trip
Vacations call for so many chores. You can’t forget your bathing suit, toothpaste or cell phone charger. Often overlooked is the home. To avoid a burglary or other disaster, follow these precautions before taking off.
You can stop your mail, but even better is giving a trusted neighbor, relative or friend a key to your home. You could ask them to take the responsibility to:
- Make sure everything is fine inside.
- Have them turn a light on in the evening if you don’t have a timer for lights.
- Adjust your window coverings the same way you do to give the appearance that you are home.
The Concealed Carry on the Web by State states property crime across the U.S. occurs every three seconds for a total of 28,800 per day. Burglaries occur every 10 seconds for a total of 8,640 per day. According to Lifeshield, the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association reports houses with monitored home security systems are three times less likely to be burglarized than houses without alarm systems. Nine out of 10 convicted burglars said they would avoid a house protected by a home alarm system, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Get a security alarm.
Each security company has a contact list for its clients. When you fill out the contact information, add a trusted neighbor or nearby friend or relative. If your house should get broken into while you are gone, the security company has someone to contact that is nearby; choose the same person collecting your mail and adjusting lighting and window coverings.
Choose to Tell
Notify the appropriate people when you are leaving; tell them how long you will be gone. Avoid posting your trip on social media. Even if you think only trusted people can see your page, it could be hacked into by a burglar. If there have been problems in your neighborhood, notify the police to keep an eye on your home during their patrols.
A Car in the Driveway
Invite a neighbor to use your driveway while you are gone. Keeping a car in the driveway often deters burglars because they think someone is home. If you have a second car or are not taking your car, you can also park your own car in the driveway. Your house sitter may want to stay for an hour or so, especially if you have pets. Someone coming in then leaving within a few minutes every day is a good indication no one is home most of the time.
Avoid More Than Burglaries
While this has nothing to do with getting broken into, it helps you save money and helps to keep your pipes from freezing. If you put the thermostat at 55 degrees, you won’t use as much electricity and the pipes inside the house shouldn’t freeze. If you have a friend or neighbor house sit, have them adjust the thermostat if you are leaving pets home while you are gone; have them turn it up to 65 at night and down to 55 during the daytime hours.
Home electrical problems account for 26,100 fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Most of the fires are a result of faulty outlets and old wiring. Unplug any small appliances and electronics or get a smart plug, which turns off electricity after a certain time of inactivity. TVs, computers, coffee makers and other items usually use electricity even when they’re off, because of status lights and memory data functions.
This article was written by Maude Keller
A retired advice columnist for a small newspaper in Minneapolis, Maude still gets to share her tips and tricks to keep a cozy home and hearth by writing for several blogs and websites.