How to Secure Your Home When You're Away

Posted on October 26, 2011

When you leave home for an extended period of time, you need to develop an action plan to make sure your home is safe and secure while you’re away. A plan can help you:

  • Guard your home against water pipe breaks, system malfunctions, and other accidents
  • Make sure no one slips on an icy sidewalk and gets hurt
  • Prevent your home from becoming an easy target for burglars

Your action plan should include four steps:

1. Develop a to-do list of tasks to be completed before you leave.

You can find general to-do lists on a variety of websites, including and

Start with one of these lists and modify it for your situation. And be sure to save it for the future.

Your list should include steps that reduce the possibility of damage if a system fails or malfunctions:

  • Turn off the water
  • Cover all toilets with saran wrap
  • Install a water sensor

It also makes sense to focus on tasks that can reduce your expenses:

  • Lower the temperature on the thermostat
  • Place your internet and cable/satellite services on hold
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater
  • Unplug equipment and appliances (microwave ovens, DVD players, etc.)

2. Secure your house against intruders.

Investing in a security system is a great way to protect your home while you’re away. In addition to identifying when doors and windows have been opened, some systems include interior motion detectors, hard-wired smoke detectors, and temperature and moisture sensors (which are good for basements).

3. Make sure your home looks lived in.

A home that looks vacant can become an easy target for burglars. Take a few simple steps to make it appear that you’re home even when you’re away.

  • Arrange to have your yard maintained (spring, summer, and fall)
  • Make sure your driveway and sidewalks are cleared of snow (winter)
  • Forward mail to your new address
  • Stop newspaper deliveries
  • Set interior and exterior lights on timers
  • Have items/garbage removed from your property
  • Arrange for window shades to be opened and closed intermittently

4. Hire a professional home monitoring service.

When you’re away for a few weeks, it’s okay to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your place. But when you’re gone for an extended period, it’s time to hire a professional home watch service.

This type of service is ideal for those who are heading south for the winter, trying to sell a home from out of town, taking an extended vacation, or traveling for business.

When choosing a home monitoring service, look for someone who has proven experience examining unattended homes. The best home watch services:

  • Perform periodic internal and external inspections
  • Work with you to develop a comprehensive list of inspection points and items to be covered during each visit
  • E-mail an inspection report (with pictures) that documents any potential issues
  • Partner with licensed, bonded professionals who can solve almost any problem with your home

Seasons Home Watch is an experienced service that can give you peace of mind next time you leave for an extended period. To learn more, contact Jeffrey Anderson:

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