Summer is here and that means vacations are on the horizon! Whether you are going to a family beach trip or seeking thrills at your favorite amusement park, you don’t want your fun ruined by thoughts of what is going on at home. Give yourself some peace of mind by protecting your home from theft and damage while you are away. Here are some tips to help you prepare your home for your vacation:

Appear Lived In. An empty house is an open invitation to intruders. Giving the appearance of activity in your home can help to protect from theft and deter criminals.

  • Have your mail and newspapers help until your return or arrange for a trusted person to pick them up.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed or snow shoveled while you are away.
  • Set times on interior lights.
  • Park a car in your driveway or ask neighbors to park there occasionally.

Prevent Damage. Electrical and water issues can occur while you are away and without someone there to notice and stop them it can become a much larger issue.

  • Unplug your televisions, computers, and applicable appliances to protect from lightning and power surges.
  • Confirm that all electrical appliances that can’t be unplugged are turned off.
  • Put your water heater in “vacation” mode
  • Turn off water valves to your dishwasher, washing machine, sinks, and toilets.
  • Make sure all smoke detectors are working properly.

Confirm Security. While you can’t always keep eyes on your home while you are gone, there are steps you can take to help secure your home and keep it safe.

  • Lock all windows and doors
  • Do not leave a house key hidden outside the home
  • Advise your alarm company and local police you will be gone
  • Store valuable items in a safe-deposit box.
  • Install a motion-activated outdoor light.

Lastly, you can let a trusted neighbor know you will be away and have them keep an eye on your home. It is a good idea to leave your vacation address and telephone number with this person so you can be reached in case of an emergency.

Vacations are meant to give you time to relax, so don’t spend it worrying about what is going on at home!