The holiday season is upon us, and that means many people in the Brentwood, Tennessee, area will be traveling to see friends and family over the next few weeks. Whether your celebrations are an hour away from home or a whole day's worth of travel, this list will of helpful reminders can help protect you and your home from possible mayhem (don't you just love those mayhem commercials?).
Empty Things. If you've ever come home to the stench of rotting food or a mildewing dishwasher, you'll probably never do that again. Throw away food in the fridge or pantry that would have time to spoil or attract bugs. Once that's done, make sure all inside trash has been placed in outside bins. Empty the dishwasher and washing machine to prevent mold. And this should go without saying, but please, oh, please don't forget to empty the diaper pail and the litter box!
Unplug, Turn Down, and Turn Off Things. Even if you use surge protectors, which you should, consider unplugging electronics that will not be in use. Standby mode can still use power, so just err on the side of caution and reduce the possibility of a fire hazard.
There's no need to run up your electric bill with heating your home or your water while it's not being used. Most experts suggest turning the heat down to 55 degrees to trap a little warmth, and some newer water heaters have a "vacation" mode to reduce the number of times it turns on.
Inspect and Insulate Things. If it will be especially cold in your area, walk around the exterior of you home and insulate any exposed pipes. Leave cabinet doors open near pipes in the kitchen and bathrooms to allow a little heat to circulate. Inspect doors and windows for cracks and make sure they are sealed. For a more thorough list of how to protect your home during the winter, click here.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, nearly 400,000 burglaries take place in the United States between November and December each year!! There are many ways to reduce your chances of becoming a victim, but here are a few of the most popular tips according to Ackerman Security.
Make sure your gifts and valuables are not visible from the street. If a criminal can easily see what is in your home, you increase the chance they will be tempted to come inside to steal the items.
Put your holiday lights on an automatic timer. This prevents thieves from "learning" your habits by taking not of when your lights are turned on and off. It is also a good idea to put your indoor lights on an automatic timer if you are vacationing for the holidays.
Secure your home. Make sure all your doors and windows have functioning locks and install a home security system. The easiest way for thieves to get into your home is through welcoming unlocked doors and windows. Do not store a spare key outside.
Do not run extension cords for holiday lights through windows. Running extension cords through windows means that window cannot close and latch completely. This makes the window an easy entry point for burglars.
Have a trusted friend or family member pick up your mail and newspapers. If you are going out of town, get someone you trust to check on your house and pick up your mail and newspapers. Nothing tells a thief you are not home like a week's worth of newspapers on your driveway.
Do not post your holiday travel plans online. Broadcasting the location or duration of your trip on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can be dangerous. It may be something exciting you really want to share, but be aware that you are blatantly telling criminals, "I'm not home."
Be wary of people going door-to-door soliciting donations. This is a common ruse used by criminals. Ask to see an I.D. that connects them with the charity. Don't feel pressured to give, trust your instincts and never give cash. Call 911 if you believe something is not right.
Don't advertise the gifts you received. Placing your empty boxes outside for pickup shows thieves what is available inside your home. We definitely encourage you to recycle, but be smart about it. Break the boxes down, turn them inside out, put them in your trash receptacle and don't place them on the curb until collection day.
I hope that you and your friends and family have a wonderful holiday season together. If you need help finding a new, cozy home where everyone can gather for Christmas, contact me today!