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Extended Absences

Keep your home safe and secured when you're away.

Whether for a vacation, business travel, or other reasons, nearly all of us occasionally leave our homes for days or weeks at a time. With some preparation, such absences can be managed uneventfully. Keep these guidelines in mind and add additional reminders that are appropriate to your situation. You should review caring for your home and any product literature to deal with extended absences.

Plan in Advance for the Absences

  • Firstly, ask a neighbor (or friend) to keep an eye on the property. If possible, provide them with a way to reach you while you are away.
  • Alternatively, consider arranging a house sitter if you will be gone an especially long time (over two weeks).
  • Additionally, arrange for someone to mow the lawn.
  • Notify local security personnel or police of the dates you will be away.
  • Furthermore, stop the mail, newspapers, and other deliveries.
  • Use lighting timers (available at hardware stores).
  • Confirm that all insurance policies that cover your property and belongings are current and provide sufficient coverage.
  • Mark valuable items with identifying information. Consider whether you have irreplaceable items that should be stored in a bank vault or security box.

As You Leave

  • Forward phone calls to a relative or close friend, or consequently, yourself.
  • Unplug computers and other electronic devices that might be harmed in an electric storm.
  • Leave window coverings in their most typical positions.
  • Confirm that all doors and windows are locked and the deadbolts are engaged.
  • As well, shut off the main water supply. Set the thermostat on the water heater to “vacation” to save energy.
  • Additionally, store items such as your lawnmower, bicycles, or ladders in the garage.
  • Disengage the garage door opener (pull on the rope that hangs from the mechanism). If available, use the manufacturer’s lock to bolt the overhead door. Caution: Attempting to operate the garage door opener when the manufacturer’s lock is bolted will burn out your opener's motor. Upon your return, unlock the garage door first, then re-engage the motor (simply push the button to operate the opener, and it will reconnect) to restore normal operation.
  • Appear to be there, for instance, by leaving a second car in the drive.
  • Summer: Turn your air conditioner fan on. Set the thermostat to 78.
  • Winter: Set the thermostat to a minimum of 55. Leave doors on cabinets that contain plumbing lines open. Leave room doors open as well. This allows heat to circulate.
  • Arm your security system, if applicable.