Bob Vila Radio: Lights on Timers

You might be surprised to learn that an inexpensive timer could prevent a home burglary—but the appearance of occupancy is sometimes all it takes to prevent an intruder.

You may think that putting a timer on your lights is a waste of time—what burglar worth his salt would be fooled by a ten-dollar timer? Well, you’d be surprised.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON TIMING LIGHTS or read the text below:

Timers-on-Lights

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Not all burglars spend time casing neighborhoods—they look for an empty house and grab the opportunity. Drive down any block just after sunset, and it’s immediately clear which houses are empty. That inexpensive timer just might save your home from an unwelcome visitor.

Your best bet is installing a couple of timers—one to keep your living room or dining room lit in early evening, another to keep a bedroom or two looking occupied a bit later on. That mimics natural behavior and is often enough to make a burglar keep going.

If you’re going to be away for a few days, you can be even more thorough—many timers allow for multiple on-and-off cycles for the same light, and putting those in several rooms can create the illusion that several people are home and moving around. Adding a timer to your TV can also keep your home looking lived-in, even when you’re far away. No timer can guarantee you a burglar-proof home of course, but it’s a small investment with a potentially big payoff.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.