Before You Go On Vacation: Safety Tips for Your Home in the Winter or Summer

prepare house for vacation

Your big vacation is fast approaching, and you’re getting more and more excited. We understand completely. But don’t forget that while you’re on vacation, your home needs to be taken care of.

We have some safety tips for your home you should do before you go on vacation.

1. Get Someone to Keep an Eye on Things

You don’t necessarily have to get a house sitter, but having a trusted friend or family member keep an eye on your home is an one of the most important safety measures. They can do little things to make sure your house looks lived in. For example, if you’re going out of town for a long period of time, have someone mow the lawn and collect flyers that may be dropped on your doorstep. Or in the Winter shoveling your walkway or drive-way.

Taking these steps will make sure your house doesn’t look neglected and empty while you’re enjoying your time off.

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2. Hold Your Mail

If you’re leaving for an extended period of time (and you get mail delivered to the house) – a pile of mail steadily building up is a clear ‘no one is home’ signal. Before you go on vacation, call the post office and ask them to put a hold on your mail.

If you don’t want to ask the post office, ask the person keeping an eye on your home to also collect your mail for you.

3. Put Your Lights On Timers

One of the safety measures we recommend is putting your lights on timers. This will give your home the lived-in look.

If you are able to, find a timer that can connect to your cell phone. This way, no matter where you are (as long as there’s cell reception) you will be able to set the lights to go on and off at different times. This will help discourage anyone who may be watching your house. Lights that go on and off at the same time will work for a few days, but it’s a pretty noticeable pattern if you’re away for any length of time.

4. Set Your Thermostat

You don’t want to waste energy and money went you aren’t home, but it is still a good idea to program your thermostat so that your air conditioner occasionally cycles on and off. This will give the impression that you’re home and it’s business as usual, because people will see or hear your outdoor condenser unit.

In the Winter try to set your thermostat to 17-19 degrees Celsius to keep your home ok but without making your furnace work too hard.

5. Check All the Locks

This may seem like the most basic tip, but there are a lot of locks in a home. It is important to go around and check every single one before you go on vacation.

Don’t forget to check all the windows, exterior doors, and your garage if you have one. If you have an sliding doors, place a metal rod or a piece of wood on the track to keep it from sliding open if someone tries.

6. Unplug

This is both a safety tip and an energy saving one. Make sure to unplug your appliances and electronics before you go on vacation. If no one is at home to monitor them, leaving them plugged in increases the risk that something could happen, like an electrical fire.

Unplugging appliances that won’t be in use during your vacation is also a good way to save yourself a little money on your next electricity bill. You don’t want to be paying for energy consumption that no one is using.

7. Security System

Particularly if you are going away for a long period of time, a security system is a great way to protect your home. Systems today can send alerts directly to your cell phone about any unusual activity, including broken windows.

8. Open Cabinet Doors

In the winter, if you have pipes on the outside walls behind kitchen or bathroom cabinets, it may be a good idea to open some cabinet doors. Opening cabinet doors will let the warm air reach the wall and reduce the risk of pipes freezing if we have a cold-snap while you are sipping margarita’s on the beach!

9. Don’t Shout It From the Rooftops

It’s exciting to go on vacation, no matter where you’re going. You naturally want to share that excitement – and possibly brag a bit – to the people you interact with. This isn’t a good idea when it comes to ensuring your home’s safety while you’re gone.

Don’t tell people about your vacation plans unless they are close friends or trustworthy family members. You don’t want to advertise that your home is empty.

Get Your Furnace or Air Conditioner Serviced Before You Go

The last thing you need while you’re on vacation is an unexpected breakdown. You’ll return to an uncomfortable house and an expensive repair bill. By getting your system serviced pre-vacation, you can leave with the peace of mind that everything is working correctly.