| Homeowners

The weather is warming up and it is time to enjoy a well-deserved vacation, or visits to the family cottage. When making travel plans, the last thing you will want is to be worried about the safety of your home while away – there is already enough to stress about!

It is important to prepare your home before your departure; use this easy guide to help:

Make Your Home Look Lived-In

A house that looks obviously empty can be a target. Keep your house looking occupied during longer trips:

  • Do not let newspapers or mail stockpile. If you are going away for a long time, you can contact Canada Post to hold your mail, or ask a trusted neighbour to come by and pick them up.
  • Protect your car by parking it inside the garage. Ask a neighbour to park in your driveway occasionally to give the appearance of activity.
  • Have at least one light in your home connected to a timer. A timed light will save on energy costs and make the home look lived in.
  • Install motion-activated outdoor lights – if you have a larger property, flood lights are great. Any outdoor lights are a deterrent to burglars.
  • Ensure your lawn is trimmed. Ask a neighbour or family member, or hire someone, to come by and mow the lawn. An unkempt property sends the signal that no one is around (especially if it is usually taken care of).
  • Take the Necessary Electrical and Plumbing Precautions
  • Go around your home and unplug all electrical devices. This will save you money, and also lower your risk of an electrical fire occurring.
  • Put the water heater in ‘vacation’ mode.
  • Turn off water valves to the dishwasher, washing machine and sinks.
  • Set your thermostat closer to outside temperatures. This will keep energy bills lower, while also ensuring your home is not freezing or overly hot inside.

Other Preparations to Consider:

  • Let your bank and credit card company know you will be going away and notify your home alarm company.
  • Test smoke detectors before you leave.
  • Ensure every door is locked and any valuables in the backyard are stowed away.
  • Leave your emergency contact information and a spare house key with a trusted neighbour.
  • Check your fridge and pantry for any food that could go bad while you are away.
  • Empty all the trash in your house in the event there are perishables in any of the bins.

Lastly, do not post your travel plans or dates on social media. You may feel that you want to share these details with your friends, but you never know who else is viewing this information. I hope you find this list helpful…and happy travels!