10 tips for protecting your home while on vacation

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll be packing your bags soon and heading south for some much needed fun in the sun. Vacations should be stress-free so be sure to take a few measures before you leave to ensure your home is just as you left it when you return.

1. Don’t share the details of your trip with friends on Facebook or other social media sites. No sense in letting the world know your home is sitting empty.

2. Use timers to turn on lights inside and out.

3. Ensure that all windows and doors are locked and don’t leave a spare key hidden outside.

4. Remove treasured valuables (family heirlooms, expensive collectibles or pricey jewelry) from the home if possible or lock up in safe.

5. Arrange to have your mail and newspaper picked up by a close neighbour. Suspend service if you’re planning a lengthy getaway.

6. Disconnect your automatic garage door opener.

7. Arrange to have a neighbour or friend shovel your driveway and sidewalk in the event of a snowstorm.

8. Be sure to unplug any and all appliances, including the coffee maker, television and computer.

9. Reduce the thermostat to no less than 15 degrees Celsius, depending on the age and condition of your home. You will save money on energy costs while avoiding frozen pipes.

10. If you’re a frequent traveler, consider investing in an automatic generator to protect your home’s plumbing from freezing. If the power goes out during a nasty winter ice storm, your heat may go out and your pipes could freeze. A generator will not only keep your heat running but also your alarm system.

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