Lights Are On, Is Anyone Home?

    If you’re still planning your big getaway vacation this summer, add some of these home security tips to your to-do list before you leave.

    Hold your announcements

    Never, ever post on social media that you are away from home. Sure, take photos and enjoy every minute, but wait to post those memories until you return home. Your security settings on Facebook might set to be private, but hackers have a way of discovering what you don’t want them to know.

    Tell a trusted neighbor

    Don’t announce to the Internet that you’ll be away from your home, but do tell a neighbor that you trust. This is the neighbor that already has your cell phone number and a spare key. Ask him to watch out for anything unusual or someone that might be hanging around your property or watching it close by.

    Maintain a routine

    Grass (and weeds) continue to grow even while you’re gone. If you are a DIYer, ask someone to mow and trim your yard. Depending on the weather and how long your vacation will take you away, this might need to happen more than once. Your goal is to have your property look consistent, as if you’re there. If you tend to leave the garden hose in the yard, leave it there.

    Be smart about security

    Download a security app on your smart phone. The app allows you to monitor personalized schedules to automate lights and thermostats. It is connected to your home’s security system and uses door, window and motion sensors. The free app also lets you monitor your home by taking pictures when motion is detected.

    If this app doesn’t work for you, find what might be a best fit for you and your home. Start research with this website.

    You can also use this handy app when you get home to monitor your home’s total energy use to know where to make changes to help you be more energy efficient.

    Be just as smart

    If you’d rather control lights and electronics the old-fashioned way, light timers are available at most big box stores. Unplugging small appliances and media will help you save energy while you’re not using them. Consider putting a radio on a timer for consistent noise. The pennies you will save will add up to help pay for your next getaway adventure. The down side is that if your power goes out, the timers might not reset.

    Hold your mail

    The few minutes you take to do this will prevent your mailbox to fill up and scream, “No one’s home.” While this used to take a physical trip to your local post office, it’s as easy now as going to fill out the information requested. If you’ve ordered something online that will be delivered by FedEx, follow this link:

    Lock up

    This might be obvious, but make sure all windows and doors are locked. This includes the interior door from your garage. To ensure your garage door stays closed, unplug the automatic door opener. Secure any valuables as if you would while you’re home.

    Enjoy your time away and come home to a safe place. There’s no place like home.

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