Our friend, Henry Moore, the Fitwell Traveler (Fitwelltraveler.com), suggested to me that it might be good to provide tips to help our guests ensure their home’s safety while traveling. Henry noted, “Traveling should be a relaxing, enjoyable time for you. But, it is hard to leave your worries behind if you are concerned that your home will not be secure while you’re gone.” So he offers some suggestions.
Create a Home Checklist
It can be easy to get caught up in packing and preparing for your trip and forget some of the general home safety tasks. If you do not have time to create a checklist specifically for your needs, use one of the many provided online. State Farm provides a good list of ways to protect your home when you travel. I’m sure you can find others online as well.
Some of the basics include:
- A week ahead of your departure date, check your door and window locks to make sure they are in working order.
- When departing, double-check that they are locked, and remember to check all exterior doors, including porch or patio doors and basement doors.
- Check your HVAC system and set your thermostat to save energy while keeping your home at an appropriate temperature. This will ensure pipes don’t freeze or your home doesn’t become too warm.
- Turn off exterior faucets, check your plumbing systems for leaks, and protect your pipes with insulation to avoid bursting frozen pipes.
- Unplug appliances and electronics or plug them into surge protectors to protect them.
- If you have a home security system, ensure it is in working order and that your alarm system is set properly when you leave.
For more advanced protection you may want to keep reading Henry’s other tips including exterior security lighting, motion sensors, and smart home products.
1. Improve Your Home’s Security from the Exterior
To boost your home’s security, outdoor security lighting can save energy and keep the element of surprise on your side, especially outdoor lights that sense motion. Thieves will be deterred from trying to enter your home if lights suddenly shine on them while they lurk around outside.
Whether an antique light like the one in front of the Frankiln Street Inn (pictured above), or the newer LED floodlights affixed to poles or the house, outdoor security lighting illuminates areas of your property that otherwise are dark. In most cases, outdoor security lights work best when installed on the corners of homes, pointing into the backyard, and near exterior doors. You will gain peace of mind while you’re out of town because you will know that the exterior of your home is well-lit.
2. Include Motion Sensors as Part of Your Home Security System
Motion sensor devices are responsible for detecting intruders by sending a signal to your security system when they sense movement. You and your monitoring center will be alerted to a potential threat in your home when you install motion sensors. Generally, your motion sensors should be capable of detecting movement within 50-80 feet and be installed in areas people must walk through, such as stairwells and main hallways, and in the master bedroom. These are areas most burglars begin searching for valuables.
Motion sensors always are ready to detect movement and send an alert. Today’s sensors can alert you when someone enters your home, when windows or doors are opened or closed, when a window breaks, or when someone is in certain areas of your home.
Fortunately, motion sensor technology has advanced to the point that many sensors are wireless and do not require any drilling or complex installation. Some are smart enough to ignore your pets, and some integrate video cameras that record or stream live video to your smartphone when they detect motion.
It’s a good idea to communicate with your home security company and let them know when you plan to travel. Ensure your motion sensors are in working order and that your alarm system is set properly when you leave.
3. Use Smart Home Products to Create the Illusion That You’re Home
If you have smart devices, use them to your advantage while you travel to create the illusion that you are home. You can trick people into thinking someone is home when you use apps on your smartphone to turn lights on and off at various times throughout the day. You also can turn on smart entertainment hubs and televisions using an app to make it appear as though someone is home.
So whether it’s just the basics, or you are high tech with home security, ensure your home is safe while you travel. It will allow you to be more relaxed and you will be better able to enjoy your trip. Per Henry Moore, our Fitwell traveler: Travel Fit, Stay Well.