Securing Your Home While You Are Away

If your Florida home is a vacation or winter home and you will be leaving it unoccupied for any length of time, there are some important tips you may want to follow to avoid any unwanted problems.

Most homes here are in relatively safe and secure gated communities where you don't really have to worry about human intruders, it's the furry kind you have to worry more about. We'll talk about them in a minute.

Make It Look Occupied
As far as human intruders, there are a few things you can do to protect your home. Although it may be tempting to pretty much seal your home up when you are not there, don't. The best thing is to make it look occupied by leaving the curtains slightly drawn, not fully. Don't put up hurricane shutters, that's a dead giveaway that nobody is home. Make arrangements with your HOA or a friend or relative to put them up in the event of a storm. Remember to stop any mail and newspaper delivery and have any packages delivered to the community office. Take any valuables such as jewelery, guns, etc. with you. Of course it is always a good idea to have a relative or a trusted neighbor actually look in on your home or at least keep an eye on it for any signs of trouble.

Shut Off The Water
The worst thing is to come home and find a major flood from a water leak. This would be a rare event, but not one you'd want to deal with. Take a few minutes and shut off all water to or in the house before you leave. We don't really have to worry too much about pipes freezing in our area, but you may want to make sure any exposed pipes are wrapped and you drain the water from any that may freeze. It is a good idea also to drain the dishwasher and make sure it is dry.

Animal Intruders
Check around your home for any openings that may allow small animals such as mice and squirrels to enter your home. They will come in seeking food and also warmth in the winter. Close up any openings you find, even the smallest, as mice can fit into very tiny openings. Take any open food with you or put it in a sealed container.

Pest Control While You Are Gone
It is a good idea to keep your pest control schedule while you are gone. Insects don't know you are gone and can make quite a bit of headway from outside to inside your home while you are away. Continued spraying around the outside of your home will help keep them outside.