Home SecurityWhether for vacation or work, leaving your home empty for extended periods of time can leave it vulnerable to crimes or disasters.

It is important to make sure you have guarded against these problems before you leave so that you can rest easy while you are away and come back to a safe and secure house that is exactly the way you left it.

Let’s dive into 7 ways you can protect your home:

1. Set timers

To give the appearance that someone is home, set your indoor and outdoor lights on timers so that they turn on and off at different intervals. These timers can be bought for relatively cheap and will help disguise the fact that you are away to would be burglars.

2. Arrange to hold mail/newspapers

Nothing will tip people off to the fact that you are away faster than a pile of newspapers and an overstuffed mailbox. Even if your house is not broken into as a result of these obvious signs, your mail could be stolen which could contain your personal and financial information. This could lead to your identity being stolen. So put a hold on your mail and newspapers for the duration of your absence to protect your home and identity.

3. Get someone to watch your house

Having someone you trust drive by or visit your house every few days is a really good idea. Just the activity of someone parked in front of your house and entering and exiting is helpful to ward off criminal. This is also beneficial for spotting problems before they become bigger. If a pipe broke or the power to the fridge went out, having it caught after a couple of days versus a week or more could mean savings of significant time and trouble later.

4. Turn off water

It is also a good idea to turn off the water to toilets, sinks, and washing machines if you are going to be away for more than a few days. This will prevent damage should a pipe break while you are gone. It is also a good idea to make sure outdoor faucets are completely turned off as well. In the summer, leave automatic sprinklers on so the lawn does not die, but have the person checking on your house check the yard for broken sprinkler heads or lines when they check on your house.

5. Unplug unused devices

Unplugging unneeded electrical devices is a good practice as well. This will not only save you money on energy costs, but will help protect the devices from power surges and reduce the chance of electrical fire. Make sure to leave the lights that you have on timers plugged in though.

6. Empty freezer/fridge

If you will be gone for an extra long time, it is a good idea to empty or reduce the amount of food in your freezer or fridge. This will prevent the food from spoiling over time or should the power go out, prevent your house from being filled with the stench of rotting food. Another benefit from emptying your fridge completely is that you can unplug it to save on energy costs.

7. Make sure to pay your insurance

It is critical to make sure you are up to date on your insurance payments and have arranged a way to continue paying them while you are away. Should the worst happen, at least you will be covered by your insurance as long as you have kept the payments up.