Since the round of Holidays is fast approaching with just about 30 remaining days in the year, everyone has their own plan in spending their free days for family time, relaxation, or leisure. For the season to indeed be jolly, we are sharing some tips in keeping our homes safe during vacations. These are some things you can do to your house, whatever time of the year it may be, so you can fully enjoy your well-deserved, hard-earned vacation away from home.
1. Turn off your lights and gas off
To avoid possible electrical fires or power surges, before stepping out of your home, make sure to turn off all lights. This may also mean turning off your Christmas lights for the meantime. Make sure that even the outside decorations are off and double check other unnecessary appliances that might have been left on and running in the background for quite some time. If your trip is during the evening, it is better to play safe and turn off everything before you go, you can use your handy flashlights or mobile flashlights to help if it seems to be too dark.
Pro Tip: Since it might be helpful to make it seem that someone is still at home even when the whole household is on vacation, better yet, you can utilize modern tech and automate the job of shutting down lights by using light timers in your indoor and outside decorations and fixtures. You might also find a light timer that can connect and be controlled by your mobile phone so that wherever you are, you will be able to set the lights to go on and off as you want. You can also put up solar lights outside your house so there will be no worries in having to turn them on or off which also helps hold the electric bill along the way.
Another thing to double check is your gas tank and stoves. Make sure to have securely turned off the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and stoves in your kitchen since they are risky causes of fire if left working on for some period of time especially if your vacation will last for a few days. If you’ll be gone for more than a week, it is also safer to turn off the internal water valve or water main to avoid coming home to a possibly flooded house when your old pipe could have broken or the washing machine hose could have malfunctioned while you were gone.
Turning off these will not just save you electricity and energy but would also help lower your electricity bills especially since you are not home to maximize their usage of your energy.
2. Unplug and disconnect your appliances
Unplug all that can be plugged out other than the security cameras, refrigerators, freezer, and other items that you could have set on timers. You can always plug those Christmas tree lights on once you come back from your vacation. Doing so will not only save money on your electric bill, but it will help avoid possible electrical issues. Unplugging your appliances every once in a while also helps in the maintenance of their condition, so while you are enjoying your time off you can also give your gears their share of rest.
3. Make sure your home’s fire protection is updated
Even after turning off and plugging out everything, there are still other inevitable causes of fire, especially in the Philippines where fire incidents have risen in 2022. This is why another thing to note before leaving for vacation is to check and update your home’s fire protection. Check and confirm if the smoke alarms are in good working conditions. Having a fire extinguisher on hand and readily available when your neighbor or someone you asked to check up your home would just in case, need to extinguish a blaze.
Moreover, if you can afford to purchase or keep up a property insurance, it is also an additional security feature for your home since disasters strike when you least expect it.
4. Ask someone to check up on your home
Instead of the usual hiding of spare keys under the door mat or behind the flower pot, it would be the safer choice to have a trusted family member, neighbor, or friend check your house every once in a while and leave the spare keys for their safe-keeping and quick emergency access while you are still on vacation. There is no pot or gutter secured enough as hideout to someone who is eager to break into your home especially when you will be away for a longer period.
It is also best to communicate with your trusted contact person from time to time and provide them your vacation details and contact in case of emergency.
5. Lock up all entrance
Make sure to have locked all doors and windows before leaving. You may need to install additional security lock devices for sliding glass doors to prevent unwelcomed trespassers from entering your home since they can force the lock and open the door if not secured fitly.
In addition to these usual entrances, do not forget to lock other openings like the mail slot or pet doors since they can be used by thieves to reach in and unlock the door. You may also consider switching to smart locks since they offer tighter security features that are accessible remotely mostly through apps. Some features include notifying the home owner when the door has been accessed or changing the door security pin even when away from the house itself.
6. Keep your valuables in a safe box
To increase the security of your most valued possessions while you are away from home, it would be better to keep them in a safe deposit box in a hidden area. These include your will, jewelries, property titles, cash, extra car keys, and other things that can be easily targeted in case of a break-in.
7. Install a monitored security system
Nowadays, there is a lot of variety of CCTV or closed-circuit television available in the local malls or online shops, they are also more commonly known as surveillance cameras. In addition to the usual uses of CCTV being used to record surveillance in vehicles or street recordings, there are available options which are targeted for home security purposes. They can usually be monitored through apps which the home owner can access remotely through his or her mobile phone or laptop. Some even have voice access so you will be able to hear and speak through the microphone chip and speaker of the CCTV and vice versa by those near the place where the CCTV has been installed. Also, the visibility of a CCTV around the house can already discourage theft or trespassing since the added security informs the culprits that their movements can be tracked and recorded.
If you have an extra budget, you can also add security sensors to your home which can help you keep track of any unauthorized entry into the property. There are many different types of security sensors on the market, but the most important ones to look for are a motion sensor to detect nearby activity, a door and window sensor, and a glass break sensor that is loud enough to scare away a thief who destroys your windows and can also alarm your neighbors around that there is a break-in attempt.
Read more: Where to place CCTVs at home
8. Be careful on what you share in social media
Since you are in vacation, you might want to update your social media friends and followers about your latest adventure and thrills. However, since posts can be used as reference on your whereabouts, this can also potentially be used to inform your viewers that you are far away from home. To avoid mishaps, you can limit and control who can view your post from public to private, or you can specify the audience for posts relating to the on-going vacation, or if this can’t be compromised, you can opt to share details or photos after the vacation has already finishes.
Another thing to also remember is to remove all private details that can be used for tracking like the exact address where you are staying (even if it’s just a location tag) or your phone number. Keep in mind that social media is accessible to the public and you would always want to think twice before sharing your personal news.
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