If your family heads south for the winter in pursuit of sunnier skies, take measures to protect your home so you can enjoy the season away without worrying about what you left behind.
An empty house is an easy target for burglars, so don't advertise your absence—have your mail held at the post office or forwarded to your winter location. Help keep your home untouched by installing secure locks on all windows and doors. Make sure there are bright outdoor lights and time them to turn on at sundown. Make it appear that someone's home using indoor lights on random timers.
Ask a trusted neighbor to monitor your property while you're away and to inform you about suspicious activity. You can now also harness technology for the same purpose. Some apps connect to your home security system and alert you of changes. Others connect your mobile phone with a security camera or webcam to provide remote surveillance.
Problems that start small in an unattended home can get serious if they're not addressed. You can ward them off with a little preparation.
- Frozen Pipes: Use heat tape or heat cables and keep the thermostat set at 55 degrees or above. Also, change the battery in the thermostat. Some thermostats offer remote control so you can check and change your home's temperature while you're away. Install a leak detection system near a water line as a precaution for burst pipes. The system can connect with your mobile phone to alert you of standing water. You can then schedule service from afar. This helpful guide has more tips for preventing water damage in your home.
- Excessive Snow: Cut down any dead limbs or trees near your house that could fall under heavy snow or ice. Hire a snow removal service to take care of your sidewalk and driveway.
- Pests: Throw out any food not in an airtight metal or glass container. Then empty, clean and defrost your refrigerator and freezer. Also circle your home's foundation, inside and out, and seal any openings.
Get more tips for winterizing your home.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.