Preparing and Securing Your Home While You're Away

Our experts at HomeSecuritySeek have created an easy list for you to guarantee your house is protected, so you can enjoy your trip with peace of mind.

Worrying about protecting your home while you get ready to leave for a much-needed vacation or have to plan for a last-minute work trip can easily slip to the wayside. Who has time to think about their overall home security while there are important things like swimsuits and sunscreen or major presentations and printouts to remember?

Luckily for you, our experts at HomeSecuritySeek have compiled an easy list for you to speed through pre-travel plans to guarantee your house and everything inside it is protected so you can enjoy your trip – whether business or pleasure – and keep your mind at ease.

  • Keep Things Normal

The old closing the blinds and turning on all the lights trick doesn’t work. If anything, it’s a clue to those looking to break in and make your belonging there’s. Leave your house looking as it normally does, but make sure to turn your exterior lights on at dusk and through the night, so that anyone looking around outside will be noticeable to neighbors. If you have a security camera or cameras, make sure they are visible to deter anyone who may walk up looking to get inside.

  • Speaking of Security

One of the simplest ways to safeguard your belongings is with a security system and cameras. With today’s technology, as long as you have access to the internet you can check in on your house from Italy or Bora Bora with just a click on your smartphone in most cases. And that remote monitoring doesn’t just include checking in via camera… newer systems can now include control over your interior and exterior lighting, appliances and locks within your home.

So, who has the best remote monitoring systems to leave you confident in your home’s security? We suggest Vivint's pan and tilt or their fixed video cameras for live video streaming and updates.

  • You Set the Time

Ideally, you want to be able to schedule your lights to turn on and off when you’re in a different time zone with the help of Vivint’s home automation. You can even go a step further, synching TVs or radios or other noise-making devices, to turn on and off to make it seem like someone is in your home while you’re away. Switching up when the lights and appliances turn on day-to-day is key, so that if someone is scanning your house they won’t pick up on a pattern… or a good time to try to break in.

  • No Hidden Keys

Almost everyone has a spare key lying around somewhere on their property and unfortunately, no matter how good your hiding skills are, chances are someone with the intent to break in can find that key. So, do yourself a favor and remove any hidden keys. Instead, leave one of those keys with a trustworthy neighbor, friend or family member in case of an emergency.

  • Halt Deliveries

If you’re one of the few homes still getting a newspaper delivered, stop your service for the duration of your trip. Soggy newspapers stranded on your walkway or lawn are a clear sign that you’re not home. While your mail will ideally be stored in a mailbox, plan to have a neighbor, friend or family member picking up your mail out and ask them to keep it at their home until you return. And, if you’re an avid online-shopper, make sure not to make any purchases that will be delivered while you’re out of town. Multiple boxes sitting by your front door are an open invitation to the people you’re trying to keep away. Wait until the flight home to click order!

  • Show off Your Security System

Most companies will provide you with branded signage and/or stickers advertising their home security system once you have it installed. Take advantage of these by placing them in obvious areas that no one can miss. If you can get more than one sticker, consider sticking them on windows by the front and back doors… places people will look first to see if a door is unlocked for easy access to your home.

  • Check the Forecast

We’re not talking about the temps where you’re vacationing… although we hope those are just lovely! Take a look at mother nature’s plans for your area while you’ll be out of town and then plan accordingly. Make sure to secure any lawn chairs or outside furniture, lawn ornaments, wreaths, etc. so that they don’t end up scattered all over your property for days on end while you’re away.

At the same time, if you’re going to be gone for more than a few days during spring, summer or fall when the grass is growing quickly, make sure to make yard care arrangements so that your lawn remains trim. An overgrown lawn and unruly hedges are a huge sign to burglars that no one’s around to be taking care of your home.

If you live in an area prone to freezing temperatures, make sure your piping is protected so that you don’t have to deal with pipes leaking or bursting and causing a mess. If this is a major concern where you live, take the time to look into, purchase and install a leak detection system so that you can be immediately alerted upon piping issues. This way, you can return home to an untouched and undamaged house.

  • Keep Your Energy Bill in Mind

Take advantage of a home automation system to keep your bills under control while you travel. The last thing you want is an unmanageable utility bill when you haven’t even been around to use your utilities!

Take a scan of your most energy-draining appliances and unplug them for the duration of your trip. Things like TVs, DVD players or gaming systems, bathroom and kitchen appliances (not the fridge unless it’s empty!) can all be unplugged. By doing this, you’re also protecting those electronic devices from power surges or lightning strikes if bad weather does hit. Visual Capitalist provides a list of the top energy users in your home as well as appliances that continue to drain energy even when turned off.

Check with your utility company to find out what the most cost-effective temperature for your house is at the time of your trip, then set your thermostat to that temperature. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the ideal temperature to keep your house at during the winter while you’re away is between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, while it should be set between 85-90 degrees in the summer months. Don’t forget to walk through your home and turn off all fans when you’re not in your home.

Along with their home automation systems, Vivint also provides reasonable energy management that you can monitor on-the-go on your phone. Consider this option if traveling is something you plan to do often.

We hope this quick list makes planned vacations or last-minute trips a seamless and worry-free experience. Before you know it, home security while you’re away will become second nature. Safe and happy travels from all of us at HomeSecuritySeek!