Summer is the busiest vacation season of the year -- but it's also the most active time for home burglars. Before you head to the beach or your relatives or whatever other vacation delight awaits you, make sure your planning includes taking care of your home in your absence.
"Securing your home should be at the top of your priority list when prepping to go away for vacation this summer," Angi Home Care Expert Mallory Micetich said. "An un-manicured yard is a clear sign that no one is home, so do your landscaping -- things like mowing your lawn -- right before you leave. It's also a great idea to leave a few indoor and outdoor lamps on or to have them scheduled to turn on and off while you're away."
Installing a home security system is easier than ever. While the best option is a monitored system with a cell phone line or internet connection, you can also oversee your own security with door cameras and video surveillance. With these, you can monitor goings-on at your home in real time on your device. On average, wired cameras cost $150-$200 each, and a wireless camera is about $100.
If you hire a security monitoring service, double-check their licensing and certification with your local municipality. Any reputable security service will gladly provide this information and have no problem with you verifying it.
Don't forget to inform your insurance company whenever you add security features. In some cases, improving security can get you a break on your premiums.
Let a trusted neighbor know about your vacation plans. They can pick up your mail and keep an eye on the house in your absence.
Home prep involves more than just burglary security, though. While you're away, keep your energy bills and your environmental footprint secure at the same time.
"Think about reducing your energy consumption before you leave for vacation," Micetich said. "You can save up to 10 percent on your energy bill by unplugging things like your television, computers, small appliances and chargers, which use electricity just by being plugged in."
Your last act before you leave should be a thorough check of the house.
"Before you leave, make one final walkthrough around your home," Micetich said. "Close all the blinds and make sure your doors and windows are locked. If you have a doggy door, make sure that's closed and locked too. Finally, make sure you've taken out the trash and that you've set your thermostat to that 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, so that you're getting those energy savings while you're gone. And lastly, if you have one, make sure to arm or set your alarm system. Then, all that's left to do is enjoy your vacation."