Vacation Checklist

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Vacation Checklist

It's that time of year!  You’re on your way out the door on vacation when you hear the news of recent break-ins in your neighborhood or you start obsessing about leaving the iron on. Here are few suggestions to prevent burglaries and other home-related disasters while you’re away.

 

  • Replace doors with solid-core windowless doors. Install deadbolt locks.
  • Replace loose window screens, broken latches, and cracked windowpanes. Close and lock all windows.
  • Trim shrubbery that obscures windows and doors.
  • Never hide a key outside of your house.
  • For a winter getaway, turn your thermostat down to about 50 degrees.  In the summer, turn off the water heater and set your A/C at about 82 degrees to control humidity. 
  • Clean perishables out the refrigerator and cupboards. Turn off your ice-maker.
  • Unplug your TV, computer, and other electronics in case of a lightning surge.
  • Have a neighbor hold a spare key and check on the house periodically — if a water pipe breaks or you left the iron on, they can prevent further damage.
  • Pay a responsible neighborhood kid to pick up your mail or stop delivery at the post office.
  • Ask a neighbor to drag a garbage can in front of your house on trash day and park in your driveway.
  • Leave automatic sprinkler systems running. Have someone mow your lawn or rake your leaves.
  • Put timers on lamps near windows so they will turn on and off in the evenings.
  • Install motion-activated lights outside the house.
  • Turn the ringer down on all phones.
  • Don’t announce your absence on your answering machine, and don't put notes on your door, such as “Take deliveries next door.”
  • Buy a “Beware of Dog” sign even if you don’t own a dog.
  • Secure storage sheds, attic entrances, and gates.
  • Call your local police to let them know you’ll be traveling. Some departments send patrols out to your home while you’re away.
  • If you must park in your driveway, remove garage door openers and keys, and lock the car doors.
  • Move small valuables to a safe deposit box or safe.
  • Check with your police department about property identification programs for valuables.
  • For added peace of mind, prepay bills so you won't have to worry about them while you're away.