Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is Your Home Alone?

Reduce travel stress by keeping your home safe while you’re away

Imagine coming home from your dream vacation only to find out your washing machine has been leaking for days, or that a storm caused a tree limb to break through the bedroom window.

As homeowners are preparing themselves for vacation, they may be forgetting one important step – preparing their homes to be unoccupied.

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), a national nonprofit organization funded by the insurance industry, including Nationwide Insurance, offers these tips to help you prepare your home:

§ Adjust the thermostat – High temperatures and humidity can damage furniture and other items in your home. To control the climate in your home, set the thermostat to no higher than 85 degrees.

§ Protect plumbing – If you’re leaving for an extended period, consider shutting off the water and hiring a professional plumber help drain all water lines. If you won’t be gone long, or you decide to leave the water service turned on, take additional steps including turning off the water supply to appliances such as the washing machine, toilets and sinks.

§ Plan for high wind – Protect your home from severe weather. Trim dead limbs from trees and shrubbery and store outdoor furniture and other items indoors. Make sure all doors, windows and vents are closed and locked to keep out wind and rain.

§ Make your home looked lived in – Deter thieves and vandals by making your home appear occupied. Stop newspaper and mail delivery, use timers on indoor and outdoor lights, install tapered deadbolt locks on doors, and have someone mow the lawn.

For more information on how to protect your home while you’re away, contact Connie Rist at (704) 841-8670 x107

IBHS’ “Is Your Home Alone?,”a guide to help people close up their homes, is available on the Maintenance Matters section of the IBHS website at, or a free, single copy can be requested from the site or by calling 1 (866) 657-IBHS (4247).

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