As the holidays rapidly approach, many folks will begin planning vacations to visit family or somewhere warm. In this how-to article we’ll look at how to protect your home while you’re on a trip, from non-tech tips to advanced home alarm systems.
Leave it Looking Lived-In
Having piles of mail and newspapers on your porch or walkway will tell people that no one’s home. If you don’t know your neighbors, ask someone to stop by every day or two to make sure these don’t stack up in your absence.
Lights being on are not the best deterrent to would-be thieves. Not only is it a drain on your wallet via your electric bill, but having lights on at all times is no more effective than having lights off. Getting a simple timer or investing in home automation that allows you to control your lights remotely are your best bets.
If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, arrange to have someone mow your lawn. An overgrown lawn can indicate that no one is around to take care of it.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Nothing is more effective than simply getting to know the people around you. Getting to know and trust the people who live next door and across the street will give you “eyes on the ground”; a group of people who can keep an eye out for trouble. Also, if your community participates in a neighborhood watch program, you can inform these individuals of your trip before you leave. Keep in touch with these people and let them know that you will be away and when you plan to return. Knowing that, if something does go wrong, someone will be there to make a call, giving you a real sense of security.
If you’ll be away for more than a week, it can be a good idea to unplug unused appliances. Even when turned off, they use a small amount of power, so it can save you some money. Studies have shown that between six and 26 percent of power used in a home can come from devices on standby. It also reduces the chances of an electrical fire.
Home Alarm Systems
Home alarm systems are a popular security choice for many homeowners. There are multiple nationwide, as well as many local, alarm system installers and monitoring services. These solutions generally use motion sensors that send an alert to a monitoring station when set off. The monitoring station will then call your home to find out if anything is wrong and, if they do not receive a response, will alert local law enforcement. Generally, there is a monthly fee for monitoring, in addition to the cost of the actual alarm equipment.
There is also the do-it-yourself option; purchasing a home alarm system connected to an “auto-dialer,” which will call a programmed phone number or numbers if something sets off a motion alert. This option isn’t for everyone, but could be a good alternative for those who are on good terms with their neighbors or have someone that they can call to check in on their house and call emergency services if necessary.
In recent years, home alarm systems have become increasingly integrated with mobile devices. Using video monitoring services and more, home alarm systems are now capable of giving you live notifications directly to your smartphone, as well as stream live video, if someone breaks into your home.
Surveillance and Fake Surveillance
You may be interested in using visual recording devices to keep an eye on your property. There are a wealth of options available to the average consumer these days. Camera systems are available for nearly any budget and can be set up by techno-novices with just a little bit of reading and a few household tools. Video surveillance systems can come in all shapes and sizes, from large multi-camera systems, to simple, low-cost hidden cameras. Whatever part of your home you’re looking to monitor, there’s an option for you.
As previously stated, if you’re looking to check on your home in real time, video monitoring can be streamed directly on your smartphone. And, by integrating cameras with home alarm systems, you’ll not only know the moment a burglar or vandal breaks into your home, but you’ll be able to see live video of everything they do.
The mere act of having cameras visible on your property can also serve as a deterrent to potential trespassers. Many who can’t afford to purchase video or home alarm systems have found that “dummy” cameras, “Under Surveillance” signs, and security system stickers can be effective in protecting their property.
No matter how you choose to protect your home, there is an option available to you to ensure that you can spend your holidays relaxing instead of fretting over the idea that your home is insecure.