If you plan to leave your Smith Mountain Lake home for the holidays, follow these smart tips to keep your property safe (and possibly save a few bucks while you’re gone):
- Put mail and newspapers on hold
Having an overstuffed mailbox or a pile of newspapers at the bottom of your driveway alerts potential thieves that no one’s home. In addition, identity thieves can find all sorts of goodies while sorting through unattended mail. The U.S. Postal Service makes it super easy now to set up a mail hold online. I did it recently and it literally took less than one minute! Go to usps.com.
- Put lights on a timer
Having lights on a timer makes it appear that someone is home. Choose a traditional timer or consider a Wemo Smart Plug, which lets you control electronic devices right from your phone or tablet. If you can, switch your exterior lights to the “motion-activated” setting.
- Install a wireless video doorbell
When you install a video doorbell (like Ring or Google Nest) you can watch over your home from your phone, tablet or PC.
- Check batteries
Make sure the batteries are fresh in your smoke alarms and that they’re functioning properly.
- Remove valuables
Hiding your jewelry is always an option, but when you’re gone for more than a few days, savvy thieves have more time to search your home. If possible, place jewelry and other valuables, as well as important documents, in a safety deposit box at your bank or in a home safe.
- Grab your spare keys
If you have keys hidden outside, bring them in. Also consider giving one to a neighbor, along with your travel itinerary, in case there’s an emergency.
- Unplug electronics
You don’t want your electronics sucking up energy while you’re gone. Unplug larger ones like computers and televisions.
- Don’t advertise your trip on social media
Don’t post the dates you’ll be gone or photos and updates (at least not until you return) on social media platforms. Hackers don’t need to know that your home is vacant.
- Switch your water heater to vacation mode
Doing so won’t turn the appliance off completely, but it will still save energy.
- Lower your thermostat
There’s no need to keep the house toasty warm when there’s no one there to enjoy it. Turn the thermostat down but not completely off to ensure pipes don’t freeze.
- Deodorize the sink and clean out the fridge
To avoid returning to a stinky kitchen disposal, run it with a half cup of white vinegar or lemon peels and ice cubes before you leave. It’s also a good idea to throw away any food that will go bad while you’re gone, then take the trash to the dumpster.
- Bleach the bowl
Dump half a cup of chlorine bleach into your toilet bowl to prevent mineral stains from developing.
If you’re leaving your Smith Mountain Lake home while you’re on vacation, be sure to follow these tips for safety and efficiency!
P.S. If you’re looking to buy or sell in the new year, please contact me. I’m happy to help!