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6 of the Best Ways to Secure Your Home Before Going on Vacation, According to Mike Holmes

Row of new suburban homes
Suburban residential street with row of red brick houses

Mike Holmes is one of HGTV Canada’s go-to contractors and the host of Holmes and Holmes and Holmes: Buy it Right.


It’s always nice to escape the everyday routines and go for some well-earned rest and relaxation. We prepare for vacations by doing things like making lists of what to pack and making sure we have the proper travel documents. But have you thought about the security of your home while you’re away? Vacation-proof your home before you leave town to give you peace of mind and to ensure that your home is secure while you’re not there.

1. Lights

Most people will go for the standard tip of putting their lights on a timer while they’re away. But if someone is watching your home, they may notice that the same lights go on and off in the same areas of the home at the same times every day. It won’t take someone long to figure out that the homeowners are out of town. Thanks to technology, we can now control the lighting in our homes with our smartphones. Accessing your home’s lighting remotely will allow you to change up the times they turn on and off.

Selecting lighting for your outdoors is also a great way to deter any would-be thieves. Placing motion activated lights around the entry points of your home, like the front and back doors, the garage, and above windows, will brighten those dark corners and add to the appearance of your home. With motion detection, active sensors will switch on when sound waves are interrupted in the vicinity, while passive sensors will activate when heat is detected. Motion activated lights will make someone think twice about lurking around.


2. Locks and Home Security Alarms

Imagine starting your vacation wondering if you remembered to lock the front door. The anxiety would ruin your vacation! With a smart lock, there’s no use for a key; you can lock and unlock your doors with your smartphone. You can even send a temporary key to someone who needs to get into your home when you’re not there, like a neighbour collecting your mail or watering your plants. Smart locks can connect directly to your alarm system too, so you’re alerted when there’s any activity.

Some home security systems will alert you when a door gets busted or a window gets broken. This is added peace of mind, knowing that you can monitor the security of your home even when you’re not there.

Related: Amazing New High-Tech Gadgets to Keep Your Home Safer Than Ever

3. Water Sensors

Water sensors are designed to detect leaks or, if you have a sump pump, can give you a warning if there’s a change in the water level. You definitely don’t want to come home from your vacation to find a flood in your basement that has been sitting there for a week. Some water sensors provide remote monitoring so you can receive a warning on your smartphone if a leak is detected. If this happens when you’re out of town, you can unlock your home with your smartphone to get someone you trust into your home to shut off your water and survey any damage. Of course, it’s always a good idea to shut your water off before you leave town to prevent leaks while you’re away.


4. Surge Protectors

A whole house surge protector connects to your electrical box and will protect anything in your home that’s plugged in from the damaging effects of electrical surges. Nobody thinks to unplug their dishwasher, television, washer, dryer and certainly not their fridge, before they go on vacation. Having a surge protector installed will protect your appliances and devices from voltage spikes that can cause permanent damage.

5. Landscaping and Maintenance

Having long grass and an overgrown yard is a sure sign that a homeowner is out of town. Cut your grass before you go and consider asking a neighbour to do the same while you’re away. If you have a landscaper, schedule them for when you’re out of town so the garden is maintained when you’re not there. Trim any overgrown trees that can damage your home in high winds. You never know what the weather will be like while you’re away, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. The same goes for winter vacations. Snow and ice can weigh heavy on branches, so make sure they’re taken care of to prevent any from falling on your property and causing damage. Ask a neighbour to shovel your driveway and clear your paths. Get to know your neighbours – they’re one of the most powerful resources to safeguard your home. If you’ve built a good relationship with them, let me know you’ll be out of town so they can keep an eye on your property while you’re away.

A Mature Couple Take A Selfie Together In Front Of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

6. Don’t Broadcast It!

The power of social media is being able to broadcast to your friends and followers that you’re going on vacation. Don’t do it! Don’t let people know that your house will be sitting empty while you’re out of town.

Going on vacation is supposed to be fun. But keep in mind the importance of securing your home before you leave. It will give you peace of mind when you’re away and will ensure that you don’t come home to any unpleasant surprises.



Images courtesy of The Holmes Group and Getty Images.

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