How to Monitor Your Home While Away

November 20, 2020 8:00 am

When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want is to fret about your home’s safety. Worrying about the well-being of your property — as well as the possessions and any pets you might have left behind — is inevitable, but there are several simple ways you can put your mind at ease.

Thanks to technological advancements, you can now cleverly secure your home and remotely monitor it, ensuring exceptional home security while on vacation. On top of that, several tried-and-true tricks help deter would-be thieves and give your home the illusion of occupancy even when vacant. So, how to secure and monitor your home while away for an extended period? Try the following tips.

10 ways to secure your home while on vacation

16 Ways to Secure and Monitor Your Home While Away on Vacation

We’ve all seen the movies and TV shows in which an unsuspecting family returns to find a burglarized home. While watching these media, you may be wondering why the families didn’t take steps to deter burglars when on holiday. Even simple things like having a neighbor keep an eye on their property may have helped. That’s the difference between you and those fictional characters — you can afford to practice common sense since your life isn’t a plot point for someone’s entertainment.

Here are more ways to protect your home while you’re away.

1. Hold the Mail

Having a neighbor pick up your mail is one option, but you can also ask the Postal Service to hold your mail for the duration of your vacation. Nothing says “No one’s home” like a mailbox overflowing with bills, catalogs, flyers, newspapers and other deliveries. The best way to keep your home safe while on vacation is to make it look like you’re still there. Create the illusion that someone’s always home, and if that’s the case, there’s no need for the mail to pile up.

2. Park a Car

If you’re flying to your destination, you likely won’t need your vehicle. Leave it in your driveway while you’re away, so it looks like someone is home. If you’re taking your car with you or don’t have a vehicle at all, there are probably several neighbors who would love a free space to park in for a while.

If a neighbor uses your driveway, the presence of a car will quickly deter would-be burglars by making it seem as if someone’s home.

3. Time the Lights

One major perk of modern technology is that you can schedule your lights to turn on or off at specific times. While this is a great safety measure when you’re coming home from work late and a welcoming way to return home, it can also act as an excellent deterrent for burglars.

When you’re away, schedule your lights to turn on at specific times — or even randomly, so there’s no decipherable schedule — to make it seem like someone is there at all times.

In addition to that, invest in some motion-activated porch lights. These will deter would-be burglars from being able to get close enough to look into your home windows.

4. Mow the Lawn

You can’t do any landscaping or yard work while you’re on vacation, but if you’ll be away for an extended period, it’s smart to maintain your lawn’s upkeep. If you use a landscaping service, don’t cancel it while you’re on vacation. A neat and well-tended yard that suddenly turns into an uncared-for wilderness suggests there’s no one to look after it.

Similarly, if you’re leaving a bitter winter for warmer climates, hire someone to shovel the snow off your driveway and walkway, so it looks like someone’s still home.

5. Join Neighborhood Watch

If your neighborhood has a group of people dedicated to looking out for each other’s homes, join it. If your area doesn’t have one, ask around and see if you can start one. The benefits are innumerable and provide everyone in your neighborhood with peace of mind at all times.

6. Secure Your Valuables

There’s no such thing as being too safe, so if you keep anything valuable in your home — such as heirlooms or essential documents — you may want to move them to a safety deposit box instead. In the unlikely event of a break-in, while you’re away, you can rest assured you’ve secured any priceless or irreplaceable items off the premises.

7. Keep Your Keys

Many people think hiding a house key somewhere right outside their door will save them from accidentally locking themselves out, but it can end up being an invitation for burglars to walk into your home. If you want to keep a key outside the home for emergencies, use a lockbox instead of hiding it under the welcome mat. Or, if you have developed a relationship with a trusted neighbor, you can have them hold your spare keys for you.

Similarly, it’s a best practice never to hand your house key over, even temporarily. For example, if you use valet parking, take the keys to your house off your keychain, so a stranger doesn’t get access to them. Anybody can make a quick copy of your house key, so never let it out of your sight.

8. Lock Doors and Windows

It may seem silly to say, but sometimes, we can overlook even the simplest things when we’re in a rush to get our vacation started. Locking your doors and windows is the easiest way of protecting your home while on vacation. Double-check that you’ve locked and secured all entry points — including dog or cat doors as well. If you have sliding doors or windows, deter entry by sticking a rod in the door track. That way, even if someone manages to pick the lock, they won’t be able to get inside.

9. Disable the Garage Door

If you have an automatic garage door or one that opens via a keypad, disable the automation and make it a manual garage door while you’re away. Lock it with a tough lock to deter burglars. Many thieves are tech-savvy enough to disable the electronic keypad or automation and use the garage to enter your home.

10. Avoid Posting Your Vacation Plans on Social Media

It’s natural to post highlights from your vacation on social media. After all, you’re excited and proud to share these fun moments with those closest to you. However, your friends and family are not the only ones to see your posts. Burglars monitor social media, targeting homes that may be empty. Although it’s tough, keep your vacation updates off social media platforms until you get back to protect your home while on vacation.

11. Stay Alerted With a Video Doorbell

To secure your home while on vacation, opt for video monitoring. Whether you’re just a town away from home or out of the country, a video doorbell is a handy way to keep tabs on who rings your bell. Go the extra mile by getting a video doorbell with motion sensors to let you know when unwanted guests are on your property. You can also use your doorbell to see if you received a package lately, which you can ask a trusted neighbor to pick up and hold for you.

12. Ask a Friend or Neighbor to Check on Your Home Regularly

You can ask someone you trust to stop by your home now and then to check that your doors and windows are secure. When your home has regular visitors, it deters criminals who may be watching. Criminals are less likely to target your home when there’s frequent activity, especially if they assume people are visiting someone who’s home.

13. Invest in a Smart Lock

Adding a smart lock to all your doors is another useful tip for securing your home while on vacation. Smart locks require a secure code to enter instead of a key. You can send someone a unique code to get into your home. Smart locks are ideal if you’re using a new house sitter and only want to give them temporary, monitored access.

14. Get a Security Yard Sign or Sticker From Your Security Company

Security signs and stickers warn passersby and potential thieves that a security company protects your home. These signs also let criminals know that your home is not an easy target. At Lexington Alarm Systems, we provide our customers with yard signs and decals. Contact us to request security yard signs and stickers.

15. Remember Your Curtains

Criminals notice when your curtains are closed too often, leading them to think you’re away on vacation. At the same time, you also want to ensure criminals can’t see your valuables. Consider getting motorized blinds you can control from your smartphone. Opening and closing curtains is among the best ways to make burglars think you’re at home.

16. Install an Alarm System

A security system is the best way to protect your home, especially if you opt for professional monitoring. In case of a break-in, the system will automatically alert a professional responder for you, no matter where you are. Most alarm systems can also link with your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and include features like timed lighting, indoor motion detectors and even remote video surveillance. The latter means you can check in on your home anytime, anywhere, so you can always have peace of mind — and proof — that your home is safe and secure.

How to Choose the Right Home Alarm System

Once you’ve opted to install an alarm system for your home, you’ll need to weigh several factors to choose the one best suited to your needs. Here are five ways to pick the best home security system for you.

1. Type of System

The first thing you’ll want to decide is whether your alarm system will use broadband or cellular monitoring. A landline option may also be available, but it’s far less common in the age of advanced technology.

  • Broadband: A cost-effective option, broadband monitoring relies on your home internet to alert the security monitoring company if the alarm gets tripped. It’s more expensive than the landline option, but it’s also far more reliable. One downside of broadband is that if your home loses internet connectivity, there’s no way to alert the monitoring company. Some people add a landline as a backup just in case.
  • Cellular: Cellular monitoring is becoming the norm since it’s a much more practical option and more difficult for even tech-savvy burglars to tamper with. It’s also much easier to install since it’s wireless and is the fastest choice if you live in an area with reliable cellular service.

finger pressing alarm button on home system

2. System Installation

Nex, you’ll need to decide whether to install your security system yourself or have it professionally installed for a fee. There are pros and cons to both options and, depending on your comfort with installing electronics, one may seem like the inarguably better choice.

DIY installation requires know-how and can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. It also allows you to have complete control over the process, meaning you can choose where to install cameras, lights or sensors. Plus, there’s usually no cost to installing the system yourself, so you end up saving some money there.

Having a professional install the system for you is your best bet if you want to ensure a high-quality outcome. A trained technician will survey your home to choose the best spots for the cameras, sensors and lights before putting it all together for you. If you opt for professional installation, make sure to keep any related labor costs in mind, as well as the time it will take — you may have to block off several hours in the middle of the day to give the technician enough time to complete the work for you.

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3. Home Automation

One of the best parts about having a home security system in this day and age is the fact that you can customize it to fit your unique needs. You no longer need to worry about what to do when you leave your house for vacation because you can choose technological add-ons such as remote access. You can remotely switch lights on and off, adjust the temperature in your home and even lock or unlock doors. You can also opt to include remote video monitoring, in which you can access a live stream of what’s happening in your home via the security cameras.

You don’t have to take an “all-or-nothing” approach to these extras, though. You can always add — or even remove — these perks as you see fit for your lifestyle.

4. Customer Service

Installing an alarm system is a significant decision and you should feel confident that the people behind your alarm installation are knowledgeable and reliable. With such a long-term investment, you want to be sure that if there are any problems, you’ll be able to get quick, efficient and courteous assistance.

Before deciding on a home alarm company, give the business a call and speak to a representative yourself. Make a note of how knowledgeable the representative is, how patient they are and how much effort they’re putting into addressing all your questions and concerns. In an emergency, you don’t want someone who’s impatient and short with you — you want someone who will be respectful, calm and able to take charge to help you navigate the situation.

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5. Total Costs

Finally, you’ll want to consider the overall cost of installing an alarm system. Keeping your home safe while on vacation is crucial, but you should do it in a way that won’t break the bank for you. You’re likely to encounter several costs. Compare these fees for various providers to help you make the best decision:

  • Monthly fee
  • Activation fee
  • Service fee
  • Relocation fee
  • Cancellation fee

Some companies allow you to use your existing equipment or rent from them. One may be a better choice for you based on your plans, so it’s critical to research all your pros and cons before settling on an alarm company.

person pressing buttons on home alarm system

Benefits of Monitoring Your Home While Away

Peace of mind is the most significant advantage of purchasing an alarm system with remote monitoring access. These systems provide ideal security and a way to monitor your home while away on vacation or at work all day. In particular, remote video surveillance is an excellent way to keep an eye on both the interior and exterior of your home. If a surprise package arrives on your doorstep, you can immediately call a neighbor to pick it up for you, so nobody steals it.

Or, if you’ve left pets alone at home while you’re away for a weekend, you can use the video surveillance to check in on them and ensure they’re safe and happy. And, if you have someone coming in to watch your pets or even to do any repair work while you’re gone, you can rest assured your home is secure because you can monitor your home while you’re away from wherever you are.

person installing a home video camera

Contact Lexington Alarm for Professional Security Solutions

At Lexington Alarm, we have your peace of mind top of mind. That’s why we make sure to provide you with top-quality products and services to shield your property from danger. Whether you’re traveling and need to monitor your home from away or want to install an alarm system for your comfort, we’re here to help you find — or customize — the right home alarm system.

Get in touch to request a free quote by calling 781-217-3919.

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