Also, check with your local Police Department often times they provide drive-by protection
Going away on vacation should be a tranquil experience, but worrying about the safety of your home while you’re away can defeat the reason you left in the first place. It only takes a little pre-planning to ensure your home is safe and sound when you return. If a house sitter is in your budget and you know someone responsible and trustworthy, it can be the best solution for taking care of your home while away. For many of us, this isn’t the case, so here are some measures that can help protect your home while away on vacation.
Newspapers and Mail
If you’ve got a helpful neighbor, ask if they will pick up your mail/newspaper daily. If not, contact the newspaper to stop delivery and tell the USPS to put a hold on your mail during the time you will be away. It’s a good idea to have a friend or neighbor come by and check periodically to be sure the newspapers and mail have stopped, just in case. Also, they can pick up any packages that have been delivered or materials that solicitors may have left behind.
If you have a gardener, keep them on schedule while you are away to water (or check sprinklers), mow, and keep your yard clean. Weather effects such as a broken limb in the driveway or knocked over pots, left for weeks, is a sure sign no one is home. If you live in a windy area, be sure all furniture and plants are secure.
Unplug computers and other expensive electronics that could be affected by power surges. Unplug all small appliances such as coffee makers, toasters etc. Many appliances use power even when turned off.
Install a timer switch for a few lights inside and outside your house. One or two lights on a timer will give the appearance of someone being home. Outdoor motion detector lights also work well for security. Leaving lights switched on the entire time you are gone is a waste of electricity, and having lights on all night may draw even more attention. Check out your local home improvement store or online resources for a variety of timer options.
Be aware of your chatter on social media. Letting everyone in your social network know you are gone for the month in the tropics could get the word out beyond your circle and potentially make your home a target.
Consider turning off the water lines to the inside of the house (unless you have appliances requiring water such as an icemaker.) A burst washing machine hose, leaky faucet, or cracked toilet tank could be disastrous while away. If you have a sprinkler system outside which you plan to keep on, have someone check on it periodically.
If your water heater has “vacation mode”, set it. It will run less and save energy.
If you have an alarm system, be sure you have a sign/sticker visible. This can act as a deterrent. Be sure to leave the code/key with someone you trust. Let the alarm company know you are away and give them the contact number of that person.