Vacation Proofing Your Home
Summer is here and we bet you’re dreaming of lazy days at the cottage or longer trips further afield. Before you lock the door on your city home, here are a few things to consider so everything stays safe and sound while you’re away.
- Turn down your water heater to its lowest setting, or select “vacation mode” if you have a newer model, and save yourself some money while you’re gone. Do not turn the heater off altogether, as turning it back on may not be a simple task.
- Adjust your thermostat to save on air conditioning while you’re away. You may wish to leave it set at a higher than normal temperature, rather than turn it off completely, to prevent high humidity and possible mildew problems.
- Unplug your electronics. These days it seems everything has a standby mode or clock, quietly draining electricity even while you sleep. With the exception of your fridge, freezer and stove, we suggest you turn off and unplug most of your appliances. Not only will this save energy, it will also prevent damage due to a power surge if there’s an outage.
- Put your front lights on a timer. The one exception to tip #3 is your exterior lights. Leaving your house in complete darkness is a clear signal to criminals that your house is an easy target.
- On a similar note, be careful about what you post on social media. Tempting though it is to update friends and family in real time, a running commentary of your trip and photos of you on the beach may not be so smart, particularly on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, where strangers can easily follow you. Log out of all your accounts and then search for yourself on Google and the various social media platforms. What information is publicly visible? Check your privacy settings carefully.
- Arrange for Canada Post to hold your mail and have someone pick up flyers. Ask a neighbour, friend, family member or employ a house-sitter to walk through your home on a regular basis to check everything is secure. Your insurance policy may not be valid if you don’t.
Now that everything is taken care of, it’s time to pack the sunscreen and sunglasses and enjoy a well-earned vacation!