Excited about your upcoming holiday or vacation? Plans are made, flights are booked, and hotel reservations confirmed. You can’t take precious goods or possessions with you and you want to come home to everything being as it was when you left. So, what do you do to keep your house safe and secure while you are away? Here is a list of recommended ways for preparing your home for a vacation.
There are a couple of important points of view on this topic from your local police services and your home insurance agent.
What the Calgary Police Services say:
Check out their website for a more detailed list of how to protect your house while you are away. An overview of what is recommended for year-round home safety also applies when you are away. Recommendations include:
- Keeping the yard clear of growth around the home – clear out overgrown trees, bushes and the like.
- Avoid dark areas. Add lighting such as motion-sensing lights.
- Make sure your doors and windows have proper locks. If not call Calgary Rekey. This is your first defence against unwanted, unlawful entry. Get an expert to assess your locks and replace ones that are not adequate for safety and security.
- Assess the weak points where your home could be accessed. Call the experts to make sure doors and windows fit properly.
- Know your neighbours and have them look out for unusual activity around your house while you are away.
What home insurance companies say:
Home insurance companies take a different view. Make sure you know your policy. What is covered, and what is not varies between companies. Some common themes between companies would include:
- Interesting how the Alberta Motor Association in their tips has “Check your Home Locks” as the top tip. If in doubt, call a qualified experienced company to check your home before you go.
- How long can your home be empty? A home that appears to be empty is an easy target. Insurance companies will vary (please consult your policy) but a guide would be to every 48 hours have someone you trust to enter your home and check all is well. This means no water running, in the winter heating is working, and all doors and windows are still locked and in good order.
- Always turn off the water to the outside of the house and inside taps. Water damage is a common issue. If for some reason water cannot be turned off, have the person checking your home watch that there is no problem.
- In the winter, turn down your furnace thermostat. You want some heat but why pay for heating when no one is home, 15C is a good balance. Same in the summer; do you really need the air conditioner running?
- Hire someone or company to keep the lawn and gardens maintained in the summer and snow shovelling done in the winter. A home that looks lived in or cared for attracts less attention.
- Get a timer to have some lights come on for that lived-in look. The lights you would normally use are good ones to choose from.
- Stop the paper, the flyers, and your mail. A stack of newspapers at the front door is a signal no one is home. The person checking your home should know to make sure nothing is sitting on the front step and to pick up your mail from the mailbox.
Some other items to consider:
- Consider turning down the water heater if you are away for a long period
- If your home has a gas fireplace, turn off the gas burner
These items are the most common to consider when leaving your home unattended. Some of the above items should be part of your everyday home security concerns; proper locks, secure doors, secure sightlines to your home.
Be prepared. Know the phone number to call for your peace of mind. Calgary ReKey Lockworks can send one of our professional locksmiths over right away. Call us now at (403) 202-7656.