Get helpful tips and tricks for protecting your home while you’re away.
You’ve packed your bags and set your out-of-office notification. You’re ready for your vacation, but is your house? Check out our go-to tips, tricks and gadgets to put your mind at ease, whether you’re lounging in Los Cabos, rambling through Rome or hiking the Himalayas.
Get the lived-in look: Give your place the appearance that you never left
Manage the mail: Ask a friend to pick it up every few days or have the post office suspend service. I f you’re planning to be gone for a month or longer, you may want to freeze your newspaper and magazine subscriptions, too.
Maintain a manicured lawn: Hire a professional or a neighbourhood kid to keep the grass trim or, in winter, the snow cleared.
Park your car in the garage: Don’t leave it languishing in the driveway. As extra precautions, unplug the electric garage opener, which can be tampered with, and lock the door from the garage into the house.
Don’t neglect trash day: If possible, ask a neighbour to wheel your bins to the curb and back when they put out their own.
Tidy to go
Must-do cleaning: During trip prep, chores can fall off your to-do list, but some are non-negotiable. Toss food that won’t last the duration of your absence and empty every trash bin. Wash and dry the dishes. (Never turn on the dishwasher as you head to the airport, as the appliance could malfunction and leak.) Cover your outdoor furniture and bring accessories to safety indoors.
Safety first: Hope for the best, expect the worst. In wintertime, prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting by shutting off the waterlines to the washing machine, dishwasher and all faucets. A power surge is an uncommon event but can be a major pain, damaging any appliance on the grid, so take the time to unplug any devices that aren’t on a surge protector.
Do: Ask a neighbour, friend or family member to keep an eye on your place while you’re gone.
DON’T: Forget to tell them about any tradespeople (such as the landscaper, pet sitter or cleaner) who may come by.
1 Leak lock: Use this cabled system on everything from the washer to the water heater to catch moisture problems like leaks and freezing. Honeywell lyric leak sensor, The Home Depot, $80.
2 Nesting instinct: The Nest thermostat senses and adjusts to your routine. the smoke detector can pinpoint the source of trouble, including carbon monoxide. Nest 3rd Generation learning thermostat, The Home Depot, $329, and 2nd Generation Protect smoke detector, The Home Depot, $129.
3 Bright idea: This remote-access energy-efficient bulb is the next generation of the light timer (an out- dated tool burglars can easily spot). Belkin WeMo smart LED light bulb, Best Buy, $30.