Many of our clients go to Florida or Arizona for the Winter. While, I think that’s a great idea, there are things you need to think about before you go.

  1. Lock all the doors and windows. Have security bolts on any sliding glass doors.
  2. Light up your property. Leave an outside light on (a motion-sensor light or at least one that only comes on when it is dark is best.) Put indoor lights on timers. Some of these can be activated by an app on your cell phone which is even better as they are not turning on and off at the same time every day.
  3. Unplug electronics. This will save electricity and will protect them from damage if there is a power surge.
  4. Stop deliveries. Stop mail and newspaper service or arrange for a trusted neighbor to take things inside each day so that it is not obvious that no one is home.
  5. Take care of the plumbing system.To avoid frozen pipes, shut off the water at the main and drain water from your plumbing system.
  6. Store outdoor furniture and window AC units.Bring in chairs, umbrellas, portable grills, toys, garden hoses, tools, ladders and other outdoor items. Remove window air conditioners or cover outdoor AC units for the winter.
  7. Enlist a snow removal serviceor trusted neighbor to remove snow if you will be gone for an extended time. Piled up snow signals to burglars that no one is home.
  8. Fill out a home inventory form and take photos of your high-value items.A home inventory lets you log the value of your belongings and the serial numbers of electronic equipment. If you ever need to file an insurance claim, all the information that you need will be in easy reach.
  9. Don’t hide a spare key under the mat, underneath the rock next to the doorway or above the door frame. Thieves know to look in these places. Give a set of keys, along with your contact information, to a trusted local friend or family member to monitor your home. For better protection, install a home security system. A home security system may save you money on your insurance, so ask your insurance agent about any discounts.
  10. Install a temperature warning light for your home.The unit costs about $25 and is easy to install. Simply plug the unit into a lamp near the front of your home or in a window. The unit causes the lamp to flash as a warning that the interior home temperature has dipped below a preset level. It’s important to maintain a steady temperature inside your home so the pipes will not freeze, burst and cause damage. Have your neighbor keep an eye on your home.

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