Home Guru

Home Security, Inside and Out, While Away on Vacation

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By Bill Primavera

At the beginning of this month, most citizens start looking for the fun and relaxation of vacation time.

But if you’re like me, vacation time has always come with the stress of wondering whether everything is okay at home while you’re enjoying yourself.

When we lived in a single-family home in Brooklyn Heights, we could actually see our home when crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. When we would reach that point, returning from vacation, we would always crane our necks to make sure our home was “still there.”

And when we moved to the suburbs, we never felt fully at ease until we reached our corner where our home stood and breathed a sigh of relief to find that it still was there waiting for us.

There are ways to better protect your home while on vacation, and I borrow tips from the experts at State Farm Insurance for better home security and maintenance while away. To fully enjoy your trip, plan appropriate home security and maintenance with this checklist.

Inside the House

Set timers on interior lights. This goes a long way in deterring burglars, who often look for crimes of opportunity. Don’t allow your house to appear as if no one is home.

Power surges. You never know when a power surge may occur, so be prepared. Disconnect the computer, TV, stereo and other electronics, or make sure they are plugged safely into a surge protector.

Never broadcast your location on social media. Even if you think that it’s only your friends or colleagues viewing your online profiles, it’s safest not to leave any sort of opening for a possible burglar.

Alert your alarm company. If you have an automatic security system in place, call your representative, announcing you’ll be away from home for an extended period of time. Make sure the alarm is set properly when you leave. There are some ways of remote monitoring with your smartphone as well.

Secure valuables. If you don’t already have your jewelry or other valuables in a safe deposit box, now might be the time to do so. Doing this also ensures that you don’t leave out anything valuable in plain sight that a burglar might be able to see from a window.

Set the HVAC. Use a programmable thermostat to lower your heat or air conditioning usage and remember to change the thermostat’s battery.

Make sure pipes in vulnerable areas such as attics, basements and crawlspaces are insulated. In unusually cold weather, set your thermostat at 55 degrees or above. Ask a neighbor or trusted friend to stop by and check on the house and periodically turn on the faucets to help ensure the pipes don’t freeze.

Check doors and windows. It might 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 local service. Before you leave, trim tree branches that might allow access to a climbing burglar.

Stop mail and newspaper deliveries, or have them regularly picked up by a neighbor. Again, you don’t want to easily clue in a burglar to your absence by the mounting newspapers on your doorstep.

Plan some exterior lighting. Set these lights on timers as well to deter burglars.

Don’t leave spare keys outdoors. Collect any hidden spare keys from around the exterior of your home. Remember, burglars know the most popular hiding places, like beneath mats and in potted plants.

Lock the garage. Even if there is no entrance to your house from the garage, there’s still a chance for numerous things to be stolen. Secure the door and any entrances to the garage.

Now, enjoy a vacation with all these security tips in place.

Bill Primavera is a realtor associated with William Raveis Real Estate and founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. (www.PrimaveraPR.com). To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

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