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Home Security Tips: Protecting Your Property While You're Away

SIX TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR HOME WHILE YOU’RE TRAVELING FOR AN EXTENDED TIME

You’ve finally booked that long-awaited European river cruise or cross-country road trip. Or maybe this is the winter you’re exchanging snow and ice for sand and sun as a snowbird in Florida. Wherever you’re headed, don’t leave without safeguarding your home by taking these simple precautions.
  

1. Give your home a lived-in look to ward off burglars. That includes putting lights on automatic timers, arranging lawn/landscape maintenance, and asking a trusted neighbor to check on your house and perhaps even park in your driveway. You may want to hire a trustworthy house sitter.
  

Also, pause your mail and package deliveries since a jam-packed mailbox advertises that you’re away. The US Postal Service offers a free mail-holding service for up to 30 days or, for longer absences, a mail-forwarding service.
 

2. Consider using a smart home security system, including automated burglar alarms and indoor and outdoor cameras. With or without professional monitoring, security cameras that record and allow you to play back activity as well as motion-sensor floodlights can also be effective.
  
Change thermostat temperature
   

3. Set the thermostat to a temperature that will prevent indoor pipes from freezing in frigid weather. (Conversely, in hot weather, adjust the thermostat to a temperature that will inhibit mold and mildew.) Also, since pipes are always pressurized and, thus, can burst at any time, turn off your water at the master valve.
 

Also, unplug appliances that don’t need to be connected to a power source, and don’t leave with your dishwasher, washing machine or dryer on as they can malfunction and lead to fire or flooding.

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4. Toss or donate any food that will spoil while you’re away, and run your garbage disposal to clear it of any odor-inducing scraps. Remember to take out your garbage and to have a neighbor bring up your containers from the curb. (Containers left at the curb for days scream that no one has been home.)
   

5. Save the social media posts until your return. You don’t want the whole world knowing you’re, say, on a world cruise.
   

6. Check your locks. Before you rush to catch your plane, train or cruise ship, double-check door, window and gate locks. And if you must leave a spare key, don’t hide it under the doormat, in a planter near the door or along the door jamb; that’s where everyone looks, including thieves.