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Going on a Winter Vacation?

Vacation is a time to relax and enjoy life, but don’t forget about your home back home. Have you done anything to ensure your vacant home is safe from burglars? We’ve compiled some helpful suggestions to keep your home out of harms way, thanks to “Risk Conversation”:

Make your home look as lived in as possible – stop all mail and newspaper deliveries, use timers to turn internal and external lights on and off, if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, arrange for landscapers to maintain lawn and other plants.

Be careful what you post on Facebook and other social media sites – Burglars are increasingly turning to these websites to identify and target vacant homes

Others suggestions include:

  • Check your plumbing. Before going away you’ll want to turn off the water supply to your toilets, as well as the waterlines running to your washer. Also, drain or wrap insulation around any water pipes (hot or cold) that run through unheated areas such as crawl spaces or an unheated porch.
  • Adjust your thermostats down to a temperature around 50 or 55 degrees F. You’ll need to keep some heat in your home to ensure that the water in the pipes doesn’t freeze and that your plants stay healthy, but there’s no need to heat it to a temperature comfortable for people.
  • Unplug electrical equipment like your computer, monitor, TV, cable box or satellite receiver along with smaller things like a digital picture frame. Most of these appliances have an “instant on” or a “keep warm” feature that consumes electricity while plugged in, but there’s no need to leave them connected and using power while you’re away. It’s estimated that this so-called “phantom” power accounts for about 15 percent of a home’s total power consumption.
  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to conserve power or gas. If it’s electric, you might even consider shutting it down completely since there won’t be any need for hot water while you’re away.
  • Remember to leave your interior doors open to allow air (and heat) to move inside your home while you’re away. Allowing air movement will ensure that your entire home is heated to a minimal temperature and there won’t be any cold rooms where a plant might freeze or a wall might crack from the cold.
  • Enlist a trusted neighbor, friend or relative to come to your home regularly to pick up any mail, newspapers or advertising fliers left around your door. If they’re a really good friend, relative or neighbor, you could ask them to clear any fresh snow from your drive and sidewalk.

Enjoy your winter vacation knowing you’ve done everything possible to protect your home while you’re away!