Bob Vila Radio: How to Protect Your Home When You’re Not There

In the rush to get ready for an upcoming trip out of town, don't let home security fall by the wayside. Read on to learn what steps you can take to keep your soon-to-be-unoccupied home protected from a range of threats, including would-be burglars.

By Bob Vila | Updated Mar 28, 2018 6:59 PM

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Heading out on vacation? Ensure that your home remains safe and sound while you’re away. Here are some crucial items to put on your “out the door” checklist.

Preparing House For Vacation




First things first: Confirm all doors and windows are locked and consider bringing in any spare keys you may have stashed outside.

If you don’t already have motion sensors paired to your outdoor lights, now’s a good time to add them. Also, add a few timers to your indoor lights as a way of making your place look lived-in.

Meanwhile, put a temporary hold on mail and newspaper delivery and by the same token, ask a neighbor to bring in your trash cans from the curb, if necessary. You can even ask a neighbor to park in your driveway, at least on occasion, during your absence.

Another smart move: Unplug small appliances and electronics—so they’ll be safe from power surges—and switch your water heater regulator to vacation mode (or the lowest setting). And don’t forget the thermostat!

If you’ll be gone more than a few days, you might even want to shut off the main water valve that feeds your house. That way, if a pipe or water line bursts, you’ll only have to deal with a little cleanup, as opposed to catastrophic damage.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!