Simple Steps to Keep Your Home Safe While You're Away

Whether you're headed for a few days at the beach, embarking on a cross-country road trip or setting up camp somewhere for several weeks, it's important that you take care of business at home before hitting the road.

But every year, there are sad tales of people returning from a vacation to burglarized homes or flooded basements. Taking a few simple steps before you begin your trip can help you avoid the heartache of returning to a home in disarray.

"Just like you've carefully planned your getaway, you need to carefully prepare your home for your absence," says Dave Borowski, director of technical training for Direct Energy.

WATCH: Preparing Your Home for Vacation

Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While You're Away

Homeowners should create a pre-vacation checklist that focuses on two areas:

  1. Prevention of opportunities for crime
  2. Elimination of potential safety hazards

Some suggestions for minimizing crime:

In terms of home safety and preparation, Borowski recommends the following:

  • Locate the main water shut off valve and turn your water off before leaving town. Alternatively, you can install a warning system that will turn your main valve off if a leak is detected.
  • Trim tree limbs and bushes away from the home, as they retain moisture in your home and provide hiding places for would-be burglars
  • Upgrade to a moisture-sensing, Internet-enabled thermostat to safeguard your home from damaging moisture buildup. Mold can grow in a damp house while you're away.
  • Entrust a neighbor with a key. He or she will be your quickest source of assistance if there is a maintenance emergency while you're away.
  • Have your air conditioning system examined and serviced by a qualified technician. This decreases the chances of potential breakdowns.
  • Inspect your home's drainage system and make sure it is functioning properly. A good plumber can run a camera through your drains to look for potential problems. You should also check that rainwater is flowing freely down gutter downspouts and draining away from the foundation.
  • "A few preventative steps can go a long way in terms of safety and your own peace of mind," says Borowski.

    For more information on home safety and maintenance, visit our Learning Center. To learn more about protecting the vital systems in your home, call 1-888-733-1683 or click here.

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