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Securing Your Home Before Going on Vacation Tips

Read these 5 Securing Your Home Before Going on Vacation Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home Security tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Is your alarm's back-up battery fully charged?

Check Alarm Back-up Battery

Some home security systems come with a back-up battery that can last for up to 18 hours. These batteries are meant to ensure the security of your home even during a power outage.

Before leaving for vacation, check the status of your back-up battery to make sure that it is fully charged. This way even if there is a power outage in the neighborhood while you are away the alarm should still maintain your security at home.

Once the electricity comes back in the house the back-up battery should begin to recharge itself. The 18 hour lifespan of the battery should keep your home protected during any service interruptions, but just in case the outage is longer than that let a trusted neighbor know.

If the power is off for more than 18 hours they can let you know and you can walk them through re-activating your home security alarm properly once electricity is restored. If your back-up expires before 18 hours contact the security company to let them know about the problem. They may be able to fix the issue or replace the battery with a new one for you.

   
Did you mow the lawn and trim the hedges before you left?

Clean Outside Your House Before Leaving

Security at home starts on the outside. Before taking a vacation look at the front of your property from the street. This will give you a view of what everyone else passing by will see. You want to leave the impression that someone is home and discourage would-be thieves from trying to break in.

In addition to the inside of your house, complete any yard maintenance that needs to be done before you leave. Especially if you will be gone for a while. If a burglar sees that your lawn is becoming overgrown and that no one has taken care of the garden or trees in your yard, they might put two and two together and realize you are out of town.

Here is a checklist to get you started.

  • Mow the grass
  • Trim hedges and bushes
  • Trim tree branches, especially any that might reach toward a window of your house
  • If you have any type of fruit tree that fruit falls off of, pick up any that drop
  • Water and care for gardens
  • Sweep walkways and driveways
Make sure all exterior lighting/home security systems is in working order

   
Did you mail pile up in front of your door last time you went on vacation?

Put Mail/Newspaper Delivery On Hold

When no one is home for a stretch of time, be it because of a vacation or business trip, the world does not stop spinning. That means that your mail and newspapers and milk delivery (if you live in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood) can pile up in front of your house.

A stack of mail and newspapers is a clear sign to burglars that no one is home and might not be back for a while. Now they feel confident that they have all the time in the world to get into your house and take what they want, leaving you with an unpleasant surprise that can ruin the best of vacations.

Before you leave, consider your security at home. Ask one of your neighbors if they can pick these things up for you and hold them until you get back. If there is no one that can do this for you call the Post Office, newspaper company and any other organizations you receive deliveries from. Ask them to put a hold on all your shipments until you return.

   
Do you have call forwarding?

Call Forwarding

It has become a common and equally dangerous practice for people to change their messages on answering machines, voice-mail or e-mail letting others know they are out of town and will be away for a while. This severely weakens your security at home.

If a burglar suspects that you may not be home and tries to find out by looking up your number and calling, that message can cause a lot of trouble. Now they know that no one is home and the house is ripe for the picking.

Only tell the people that you trust and feel you need to notify when you are leaving your home for longer than a day. This could include family and neighborhood watch members. Let everyone else assume that you are still home. A great way to do this is call-forwarding.

If your telephone service provider offers this option, you can have any calls made to your home phone forwarded directly to your cellular phone. When you answer it will give the impression that your are at home, even when you are hundreds or thousands of miles away.

   
Do you know someone that can house-sit for you?

Get A House-Sitter

Having a friend or relative spend a few days at your house while you are away is a great way of helping to avoid being burglarized. They especially come in handy if you have pets that need to be taken care of or plants that need to be watered.

If you choose to have someone stay in your house there are a few things to do before you leave. Make sure that your neighbors and neighborhood watch know that someone else will be staying there. No one wants a trip to be interrupted by a phone call from home because their brother was mistakenly arrested for attempted burglary.

Also, take the time to make sure that your house-sitter is familiar with your home security alarm. They should be able to arm and disarm the system and know the password in case the monitoring company has to call. Remind them to arm the security alarm system whenever they leave the house.

The last thing is to leave contact numbers where you can be reached. If anything does happen while you are gone your house-sitter should be able to reach you in case of emergency. Make sure to leave as many numbers as possible, including cellular and hotel phones.

   
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Byron White