We all love going on vacation, but how many times do you get to your destination and start to worry about what’s going on back home. Did you finish everything you needed to for work? Did you lock your doors when you left? Are your pets going to be OK at the sitters? The list goes on and on, but we’re here to help you cross one thing off that list. With these tips, you won’t need to worry about your home while you’re enjoying the hot sun on vacation.
While this may seem like an obvious solution to protecting your home, many people don’t bother purchasing an alarm system. With people turning to mobile phones over landlines, some are under the misconception that you need a landline in order to have an alarm system. The truth is, you don’t! With technology evolving, alarm systems can now be connected through your smartphone, and rely on the cell towers near your home. They do not rely on internet connection or electrical power, so you won’t need to worry about spotty connection or power outages for your system to work.
Alarm systems typically work by monitoring the entry points of a home, such as the doors and windows. When your system is armed and a monitored entry point is opened, the alarm will start a countdown to give you a chance to enter your code. If your code is not entered, the alarm will sound and the alarm company is alerted. They will then attempt to contact you, or the appropriate personnel in case of an emergency. You can rest assured knowing that if someone tries to get into your home, it won’t go unnoticed.
Also, if you have a security system, flaunt it. Use the window stickers your alarm company supplies, or put the lawn stake up by the front door. It may not fit your aesthetic, but you can take it down when you get back. By letting people know your home is armed, they’re more likely to leave it alone.
There are many options when it comes to making your home a “smart home” that can be monitored or adjusted through your smartphone. This can include security cameras that can be watched in real-time, thermostats that you can control remotely, or even appliances that can be turned on or off. There are also doorbell security cameras equipped with speakers and a microphone, that record who comes to your door and actually allow you to speak to them, even if you’re halfway across the world.
Sterling Homes offers a smart home package that includes a smart thermostat, alarm system, security camera, water sensor and 3 zones of lighting, all accessible from your smartphone through an App. Wherever you are, you’ll be able to monitor your home.
A good trick while you’re away is to make it seem like someone is home. If you don’t have a smart lighting system that can be turned on through an app, buy a timer for a few of the lamps in your home. They’re simple to use and can be set up to come on at a certain time every day. Another great option is smart plugs that can be turned on or off through your smartphone, meaning you can choose different times of the day to turn on the lights.
You can also get sensor lights for the exterior of your home that turns on when there is movement. Of course, these options are not going to protect your home in the case of a break-in, but they are preventative measures that can deter someone from trying.
Insurance and Insurance Policies
Thankfully, homeowners insurance can help protect you from financial loss if there is damage to your home while you’re away. The coverage may change depending on the specific insurance you have, however, your dwelling, personal belongings and other structures on your property are typically protected. You have to be careful though, as there can be stipulations in place that can void the coverage if not followed properly. For example, someone may need to come in and check on your home every couple of days while you’re away, or even every single day. If you’re living in colder regions like Winnipeg, there is a possibility that your pipes may freeze and burst. If there is any water damage to your home, and someone hasn’t been there to check in, you may not be covered for those expenses. It’s always a good idea to know what you’re covered for before you leave, and anything you have to do to ensure your coverage is not compromised.
Before you head out the door, go around your home and unplug appliances or gadgets that don’t need to be on while you’re away. Not only can this save on power usage, as many appliances continue to draw energy even while they’re turned off, it can protect your home from power surges that could ruin your appliances or start a fire.
Don’t leave a hidden key – as much as you want to have a spare key available in the case that you misplace yours, don’t leave a key outside of your home. As clever as the hiding place may be, there is always the possibility of someone finding it. If you’re worried about losing your keys, consider purchasing an electronic lock for your home. You won’t need to worry about carrying around your keys (though it’s always a good idea to keep one on you), you’ll just need to remember your code.
Don’t post on social media – as tempting as it may be to let everyone know that you’re heading off on a beautiful trip, resist the urge to post it on social media. You could be informing hundreds of strangers of your empty home, making it an easier target. This includes “checking in” to locations on Facebook, or posting stories from the beach to your page. Wait until you’re home to share the details of your trip with family and friends.
Hide your valuables – while it isn’t practical to hide your big screen TV, keeping valuables out of sight from those that could peer through the windows is helpful. Put your computer or other electronics in a different room, have a small safe for jewelry or other meaningful items, or maybe even close a curtain or two. Be careful though, if your curtains are usually left open, it would be uncharacteristic to leave them closed for the duration of your trip.
Enjoy Your Trip!
You deserve to enjoy your time away from home, and we hope that with these tips you’ll only have to worry about getting a good spot on the beach.
If you’re interested in including the smart home package in your new home, talk to your Sales Agent for more details.