Traveling this holiday season? Here's what to do to protect your home

Photo (c) vadim yerofeyev - Fotolia

Addressing your home's vulnerabilities can keep damage from occurring while you're away

It goes without saying that a home is safer when it’s occupied. Homes that are humming with activity are much less likely to be broken into. Having bodies in the house can also be beneficial in the event that a plumbing problem or other home maintenance issue should arise.

If you’ll be leaving your home to visit family or friends this holiday season, you may be thinking of ways to help ensure your home’s safety while you’re gone. Preparing your home prior to setting out for a holiday vacation can help put your mind at ease, says Ryan Williams, owner of 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Electric in Boston.

"When homeowners are away, the home is susceptible to damage from water leaks, attempted burglaries and even fire," Williams said. "Fortunately, there are a few easy things that a homeowner can do to protect their homes while they're away."

Preparation tips

Burglars aren’t the only threat to an empty home. There a number of household features, both inside and out, that function most efficiently when a home's residents are around. But preparing your home for an extended period of absence isn’t as hard as you might think.

The experts at 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Electric recommend taking care of these tasks before embarking on holiday travel:

  • Turn off the main water valve. No one wants to return home to a severely water damaged house. Reduce the odds of a water pipe bursting and causing damage by turning off the main valve that leads into your house.
  • Put your water heater on vacation mode. Williams and his colleagues note that the pilot light will remain on, but you’ll save money on unnecessary heating. If you have an electric water heater, turn the temperature dial down or turn it off at the circuit breaker panel.
  • Adjust the thermostat. Setting your thermostat to 55 degrees can save you money and help eliminate the risk of your pipes freezing while you’re out of town.
  • Don’t leave lights on around the clock. When lights are left on day and night, it’s a dead giveaway that nobody is home. To ward off intruders, use a timer for lights instead.
  • Notify your security company. Let your home security system monitoring company know that you’ll be gone. For added security, consider installing an outside motion sensor.
  • Don’t overshare on social media. Don't share your date of departure on social media. By doing so, you could be sending an open invitation to intruders.

Take a Home Warranty Quiz. Get matched with an Authorized Partner.