Monday, March 25, 2019

Keeping Your Home Safe When You Are Away

If you're leaving your house for vacation, these tips for Keeping Your Home Safe When You Are Away will help!

This is a sponsored post.

My sister just experienced a terrible accident in her home and she is not able to go back to her house, at the moment, because of it.  Thankfully she was in her home when it happened.  (Read more about it below.)   Because of this incident, we thought it would be important to make a list of things to check before we leave our home in North Carolina, and our snowbird home in Florida, for vacations and especially when we are leaving the homes for the season.

Turn off water.  We heard one too many stories from friends and family about how they have come back to a flood in their home from either their washing machine hose breaking or one of their water pipes bursting from water freezing inside it.  The water shut off valve in Florida is easy to get to and we always shut it off before we leave for the season.  The one in our North Carolina home is harder to get to so it's tempting not to shut it off, but then we think about what could happen if we didn't.

If you're leaving your house for vacation, these tips for Keeping Your Home Safe When You Are Away will help!
Source: American Electric

Unplug televisions, computers and other electronics.   We keep our central air on in Florida when we leave our snowbird home to prevent the house from becoming too humid.  A humid home is what Florida bugs and other critters love and we don't want to come back to our house and see the little squatters all over the place.  So we leave the electric on but unplug things we don't want to lose, in case of an electrical storm which happens quite often during the summer months in Florida.  We are not confident that our small surge protectors will protect our costly televisions and computer during a bad storm.

We have just learned, though, about a whole house surge protector that we are considering.  This would give us piece of mind when we are leaving our Florida place for the season or even for a short vacation.  American Electric of Jacksonville (which is located in Jacksonville, Florida) knows all about the headaches the weather in Florida can cause.  Master electrician, Mike Murphy, is the person to call for a free quote on getting a surge protector installed.

If you're leaving your house for vacation, these tips for Keeping Your Home Safe When You Are Away will help!

Make sure to check that small and large appliances are off.  The picture above is of my sister's dryer.  She is now displaced and living in a hotel room for an indefinite amount of time.  Luckily she and her husband were at home when this happened.  Her husband smelled something burning and ran to get the fire extinguishers.  They called 911 when they realized the fire was electrical and would need more than small extinguishers to put it out.  We can only imagine what the result would have been had they left their home with the dryer on.

We had an experience once that could have had a disastrous ending.  I always worried, as we pulled out of driveway, that I may have left something on and I did.  I had a very strong feeling, as we were leaving for vacation, that I might have left the iron on and made my husband turn the car around and go back to the house.  I was right!  Now it is part of our routine, before we leave the house, to double check that all appliances are off, and some we will even unplug.

Put a quarter in your freezer.  How is that going to keep my house safe you ask?  It might not keep your house safe but it will keep you safe.

We returned to our home in North Carolina, from a vacation, three days after Hurricane Florence hit our area hard.  (Our harrowing journey to get back is a blog post I will have to write one day!)  We saw signs that there might have been a power outage but didn't know for sure as the power was on when we returned home.  Putting a quarter on top of a frozen cup of water will answer your questions of whether there was an outage or not and for how long.  If you find the quarter at the bottom of the cup, you'll know that the power was out long enough for the ice in the cup to melt completely and your food to be, most likely, unsafe to eat.  If it is in the middle of cup then, yes, the power did go out but probably not long enough for your food to spoil.

Check to see if your windows are shut and locked.   We always made sure our doors were shut and locked when we left the house, but not always the windows.  Unfortunately, we had an incident, many years ago, when we left our window open.  Someone, I'm pretty sure we know who, only had to cut small openings in the window screen to be able to get to the latches, open the screen and get into our home and take the cash out of an envelope I had in a kitchen drawer.  Why give someone easy access into your home like we did?

Stop your mail and newspapers from coming to your home.  Having an overstuffed mailbox and newspapers scattered all over your driveway are signs that tell everyone you are not home.

If you're leaving your house for vacation, these tips for Keeping Your Home Safe When You Are Away will help!
Source:  American Electric

Leave lights on.   Does anyone sit in their home in complete darkness every night?  We leave a light on inside the house to make it look like we might be home.  We keep talking about getting a timer for our lights so they don't have to constantly be on but it is one of those things that we think about, forget, then remember as we are walking out the door.

We also have solar lights outside to help deter someone from approaching and entering our home.  On our list of things to do, we have getting electric lights installed outside that will be controlled with a timer.  American Electric knows all about lighting for safety and for enhancing landscaping.

Let someone you trust know that you will not be home.  It is a good idea to let your trusted neighbor know when you are leaving for vacation.  If we know our neighbor is not home we will throw his newspaper closer to his front door if he forgot to put his newspaper subscription on hold.
Fortunately for us, we have our daughter, who lives two doors away from us on our cul-de-sac, watching our North Carolina home when we are in Florida and our cousin, our aunt and our neighbor George, watching our home in Florida when we are on vacation or back in NC.  We are so grateful to all of them for their watchful eyes.

Do you have any things on your checklist for keeping your home safe when you are away that we have missed?  Please leave us a comment and we will gladly add your idea to our list.  Thanks!

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  1. These are all really great tips, especially the one about turning off your water. No one wants to come home from vacation to find a flood!

    1. Some people have so, yes, it's really important to shut it off!

  2. I definitely need to do more of these!!! Thanks for the tips!

  3. Welcome! Yes! It's better than coming home to a disaster!

  4. Thanks for all the great tips the quarter tip is very smart
    Come see what we shared at

    1. Yes. My daughter shared that with me. She had seen somewhere.

  5. I love the quarter in the freezer idea! You have lots of great ideas I plan to use. Thank you for sharing at Celebrate It!

  6. Some great ideas. Especially the one with the quarter. That is genius! #DreamTeam