Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While You’re Away on Vacation
When you’re busy booking, packing, and getting ready for a vacation, preparing your home for your absence can often become an afterthought.
That being said, the very last thing you want to be doing while sitting on the beach is thinking, “Did I lock the back door?”
Never fear! Whether you're going out of town for two days or two weeks, there are plenty of ways to prepare your home for before you head off on your next tropical adventure!
Read on for our top 8 tips for keeping your home safe while you’re away on vacation:
#1: Don’t Forget To Lock Up!
This one might seem a little obvious, but it’s estimated that 32% of burglars enter through unlocked doors – and shockingly, a third of those break-ins are through the front door!
So before you leave for vacation, make sure to lock (and double-check!) your front doors, back doors, garage doors, and other openings such as pet doors and mail slots.
Windows can also be weak points for break and entries, so make sure to double-check them as well, even the ones on the upper floors.
If you’re looking for that extra bit of peace of mind, you should consider placing Notion sensors on each exit door and window in your home.
Notion’s wireless sensors will send you an alert when a door or window has been opened, so you can take action right away!
Pro tip: Rather than hiding a spare key under the mat or fake rock (both of which are known to intruders to be very obvious hiding places), it’s best to keep your spare key with someone you trust.
#2: Unplug Your Appliances & Electronics
This one’s easy! Before you go away, make sure to take a walk around your home and unplug any nonessential appliances – including TVs, computers, lamps, microwaves, toasters, and more.
There are a few reasons you should do this. According to experts, appliances that are plugged in but not actively in use can account for 5 to 10 percent of your energy costs. This is especially the case for bigger electronics like computers and televisions.
By unplugging these appliances, you can save upwards of $100 a year on your energy bill!
A second important reason has to do with fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical fires account for 13 percent of all residential fires, and many of these are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances, and faults in appliances cords.
That’s why it’s so important to unplug any appliances and electronics that don’t need to run while you’re away.
We also recommend testing your smoke detectors and (if needed) replacing the batteries before you jet-off. Smoke detectors are a vital first line of defense for you and your family – even when you aren’t at home.
And don’t forget to install Notion sensors next to your smoke detectors. As soon as our wireless sensors detect your smoke detector going off, you’ll get an alert sent to your smartphone so you can take action, no matter where you are.
#3: Turn On Your Home Security System
There’s no doubt that every home can benefit from a home security system.
Whether you're home or away, home security systems are a great way to keep your mind at ease.
The best thing about many home security systems on the market today is that they are easy to install, provide a low cost professional monitoring option, and have great customer support.
With home security you can get an alert that your garage door opened or your fire alarm is going off even if you are miles away. Plus, with professionally monitored services, such as NotionPRO, emergency services can be dispatched on your behalf.
Although the average installation cost of an alarm system is $695 according to Home Advisor, there are tons of DIY security solutions like Notion that can be self-installed in as little as 15 minutes and cost hundreds of dollars less than traditional security systems.
#4: Program Your Thermostat
Before you leave on vacation, it’s also a good idea to adjust your thermostat.
If you’re taking a spring or summer vacation when the weather is warm, the Department of Energy recommends setting it to 85-90°F. If you’re taking a fall or winter trip, turn it to 50-55°F degrees. These temperatures will cut back on unnecessary energy costs while still creating a habitable environment for your plants, electronics, and plumbing systems.
While it might be tempting to just shut down the whole system and save some energy, this can do far more damage than good. Without any heat circulating throughout your home, your pipes can freeze (or even burst!) which can cause costly water damage.
You can also install one or more Notion temperature sensors in your home! You’ll get an alert to your smartphone when a room exceeds or drops below the temperatures you have defined in the Notion app.
#5: Hold Mail & Newspapers
An overflow of mail and packages outside can lead to something getting lost or even blowing away.
One solution is to ask your trusted neighbor or friend to pick up your mail every other day.
Another option is to put your mail on hold until you return. This is really easy to set up with your local post office. The best part about this service is that you can let the post office know which day you’re returning, and they can deliver your bundle of mail to you when you arrive.
Whichever solution you choose, it’s important to keep your mail from piling up and in the hands of someone safe. Plus, this helps you avoid pesky porch pirates!
#6: Install Outdoor Security Lights
As previously mentioned, you never want to give the impression that you’re not home to unwanted guests.
In order to make look like your home, install motion-sensor floodlights to automatically illuminate any dark areas around your home, garage, backyard, or sidewalk.
In terms of energy usage, these models are either motion-activated or set to only come on at night, so you don’t have to worry about them wasting too much energy.
It can also be helpful to set up timers for your indoor lights. This will also give any unwanted guests the impression that you’re home.
#7: Continue Regular Home Maintenance
Unless you have a very low-maintenance lawn or live in a not-so snowy region, it’s a good idea to keep up with your typical home maintenance so that people such as your mailman have a safe path to your front door.
As we’re sure you know, during the winter months, driveways and sidewalks can get extremely slippery with ice. And the last thing you want is an accident at your home while you’re away!
If you’re planning to be away for part or all of the winter months, it’s a good idea to hire a snow removal company to maintain your property while you’re gone.
In fact, in some states like Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, owners and residents are legally responsible for snow removal from their property.
#8: Don’t Advertise Your Empty Home
Aside from telling your family, friends, and neighbors you asked to watch over your home while you’re away, don’t make it obvious that you’re away from your home for an extended period of time.
It’s important to be careful about who you tell and what you post on social media.
For example, if you post vacation photos of you and your family in Mexico, untrustworthy acquaintances or strangers could become informed that your house is unoccupied.
So it’s best to be cautious with what you’re sharing and if you want to post your vacation to social media, it may be best to do it when you get home.
We hope this guide helps you feel more prepared before you head off on your next vacation! Remember: All it takes is a few small tweaks to secure the outside and inside of your home from inclement weather, costly energy bills, and unexpected plumbing or electrical issues.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday!