4 Ways to Manage Your Home When You’re Away
Going on vacation is a way to take a break from your responsibilities and reconnect with your family and friends. Nothing puts a damper on a trip faster than an emergency popping up at your house. With a few extra steps before you depart — and perhaps a piece of smart technology or two — you can leave home with confidence.
Here are four ways to manage your home when you’re away.
Look Like You Are Home
It’s hard to imagine anything more tempting to a thief (or other mischief-maker) than an empty house. Especially if you’re going to be gone for more than a long weekend, take care to make sure your home appears occupied while you’re away.
Ways to do this include keeping a car in the driveway, installing timers on a few strategically-placed lamps throughout the house so the lights turn off and on at specified times, and hiring someone to take care of your lawn while you’re gone. In addition, be sure to either temporarily stop the mail and newspaper delivery, or have a neighbor pick them up.
Unplug Appliances and Electronics
Unplugging appliances and electronics not only saves you money on your next power bill, it also helps to protect your appliances and electronics from power surges. Power surges can be damaging, particularly to sensitive electronics like computers, display panels on stoves and refrigerators, and small appliances such as toasters.
Even those appliances that should not be unplugged could use some attention before you leave. Turn the water heater to its coolest setting, set the thermostat to a cooler temperature in the winter and warmer temperature in the summer, and turn off the water connection to your washing machine.
Utilize Smart Devices
Smart devices are pieces of technology that can be controlled remotely, no matter where you are. They can be particularly useful when you’re traveling. For example, installing a smart thermostat allows you to not only set the temperature from your smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the world, it may also be able to alert you if the heating or cooling systems aren’t functioning normally. This is especially important in the winter when returning to frozen pipes is the worst way to end a vacation.
Other smart devices that are useful when you’re on vacation include Wi-Fi-enabled home security cameras and door locks. These technology tools can allow you to let someone in the house from 2,000 miles away, as well as monitor suspicious activity inside or outside your home.
Be Social Media Savvy
When you are traveling, be careful what you post on social media. While some social media platforms allow you to “lock down” your posts to a specific group of family and friends, many do not have those kinds of safeguards. While on the surface it seems like there’s no harm in posting a picture of yourself by the ocean in Florida, you are alerting a potential thief that you are not at your house. When in doubt, text or email images to friends and family while you’re gone, and save the social media posts for your return.
Vacations are meant for relaxation. Not worrying about your house goes a long way toward ensuring this.