Many of us travel to visit family and friends for the holidays. Aside from dealing with the usual difficulties of holiday travel, learning how to keep our homes safe when leaving them for a length of time is crucial.
First, check that you’ve turned off all electrical appliances. If you have Christmas decorations up, turn off all Christmas lights whether they’re incandescent or LED – there’s no reason to take the risk of a fire.
The dilemma of whether to leave the curtains open or closed, and the lights on or off is a tough one. Generally, having the lights constantly on can be just as conspicuous as having them off, and will cost you much more. If you do want some lights on, consider buying and using a timer that can turn the lights on only in the evening – it will save you some money and more closely mimic human inhabitants.
One issue that has arisen lately is the increased amount of information being shared on social media channels. You might think that you’re only sharing this information with close friends, but advertising that you’re going to be away from your home for a number of days is never a good idea. So, retain some discretion with your holiday plans when using Internet channels that are accessible to a large number of people.
Going away during the winter presents another challenge to home safety. Usually, you should try to conserve as much electricity as you can while you’re away, but in the wintertime, it’s important to keep water pipes from freezing and bursting by maintaining some level of heat in your home. The ideal temperature varies, but tends to be somewhere around 55-65° Fahrenheit. Check with your building manager or your neighbors to find the idea temperature for your residence.
And, of course, if you have a friendly neighbor, the best option for the safety of your home and for your personal peace of mind is to arrange for them to occasionally check on your residence.