Whether it be for a long vacation, a trip abroad or for work, keeping your home safe before a long trip is important for so many reasons. Indeed, the risk of fire, flood and theft increases as soon as the owner of the premises is absent. And if you are anything like me, peace of mind while travelling is mandatory for a successful and peaceful trip.
Are you going on a trip soon? Great! To make sure you enjoy it to the fullest and that everything is in order when you return, it’s a good idea to plan your absence and take certain precautions before leaving your home. Ready to go? Today, I prepared a handy little checklist for you to go through for home safety and most importantly peace of mind! Shall we?
Everyone has a smartphone that takes excellent photos these days, so there’s really no excuse for not going around the house and taking snaps of everything. In case of theft, these photos will be very important to present and justify your assets to the insurance company, to remind you of brands and models of everything, etc.
Have a trusted contact person
Make sure that you notify a trusted person who will visit your house regularly (about every three days) during your absence. Make a list of the responsibilities to entrust them with, such as watering the plants or collecting the mail. Of course, give them a set of keys. A neighbour could potentially also park their car in your driveway every other day and take care of putting your garbage cans and recycling bin on the road.
In case of a snowstorm, ask if a neighbour could shovel the entryway so it looks like your home is inhabited. If you have a home alarm system, don’t forget to turn it on when you leave and give the code to your trusted person. When you leave, check that all the doors and windows of your house are locked, and use a bar to block the patio door. It will only take a few minutes and could save you a lot of trouble later.
Hide away any valuables
While you’re gone, it’s always best to avoid having expensive objects, or even worse, cash in plain sights. Best to store these things away, in a small box hidden under the bed, or tucked in a drawer. If you have things of really high values, such as expensive jewellery or technologies, my advice would be to buy a small safe, such as the ones you can see in hotel rooms. But don’t bring any of your valuables on your trips thinking they’ll be safer with you!
Decrease the risks of water flooding and fire
Cut the water supply to prevent a line break, especially in winter when it could freeze. Close the faucet of the washing machine and water heater, and turn off the power supply if necessary. Do the same for the gas supply to prevent a leak from starting a fire. Also, check the battery of your smoke alarm. Unplug all electrical appliances such as TV, oven, toaster, computer or stereo. You will save on your electricity bill because all of these devices continue to consume energy when they stay connected. In addition, you will avoid the risk of surge during a storm, for example.
If you have a refrigerator with a fountain and/or ice dispenser, close the water valve and empty the ice bin (if applicable). If a power failure occurs during your absence, the ice could melt and sink on your floor. Do not forget to reopen the water when you return!
Turn to new technologies
The internet of things (IOT) has gained a lot of momentum these past years and it’s a great way to be self-sufficient and operate your home from a distance, in case no one is available to do it for you, for example. Many systems will let you remotely control the lights, heat, music, television, etc. This will, in turn, give the impression that you are home. You could also control a camera and have it check on your home from wherever in the world you may be. What a time to be alive this is!
One last check before you go!
Do not leave double of your keys under your entrance mat! Give it to your trusted person. If your trip is in Winter, it’s a good idea to leave the heaters at around 16 degrees to avoid freezing in the pipes. If you leave your car, give someone the keys so that they move it. Also, make sure that you leave your own contact information to someone so you can be contacted.
But most importantly, relax and enjoy your trip knowing that you have complete peace of mind over your home safety.