Things to do before you go on vacation


* Clean your garbage disposal. To avoid a stinky homecoming Richard Trethewey, TOH plumbing expert and heating expert, suggests that you first add lemon rinds to the disposal, then run the disposal with cold water.

* Stop your post. Piled-up mail indicates that someone hasn’t been home in a while. Go online to temporarily turn off your mail at You have the option to have your mail delivered immediately or pick it up.

* Unplug non-essential appliances. You can save money by unplugging appliances such as microwaves and coffeemakers that use power to operate a clock or a standby lamp.

* Keep potential thieves away: Although it is not a substitute for a home-security system, ADT’s Bob Tucker says that a sign indicating you have one can deter burglars. You can also throw gravel, but it’s noisy! Place it on the ground close to entry points.

* Make sure to check your social media settings. You should only share vacation photos with family members (“Look at us! We’re not home right away!”). You can also wait until you are back to share the photos by going the traditional route.

* Turn off the water-main valve. Richard Trethewey states that stopping water from reaching the source can prevent leaks. A burst pipe can be prevented by a lack of pressure in colder temperatures.

* Use proactive landscaping to maintain your lawn. Mow the lawn and do other chores such as trimming and pruning. Bob Tucker, ADT’s director of landscaping, says that large plants and overgrown hedges can be a cover for intruders. When you are thinking of new plantings, place shrubs that are thorny or prickly below windows.

* Ask a neighbor to park your car: If you have a driveway that has a car, or at least the beginning and end of each workday, it is possible for a neighbor to park your car.

* Notify a local: Tucker from ADT says this is an example where a neighbor’s curiosity can prove to be beneficial. You should let someone you trust and close to you know you are going out of town. He or she will be able to look for any unusual behavior.

* Move your spare key. Yes, your faithful flowerpot or fake stone may have served admirably over the years. But while you’re away, change your house key’s hiding place. A potential intruder will have more time searching for the spare if there is only one home. Don’t leave it unattended.

* Make sure you have lights that are randomly placed. Many homeowners swear to using timers to give their home the “Light’s On, Someone Must Be Home” look. A timer that is set to go on at the same hour every day can create a pattern. You can control your lighting using many apps, but you don’t want your phone to follow you while you’re gone. Choose a timer that allows you to have a variety of settings. Honeywell 7-Day Programmable Timer Switch (about 25$; The Home Depot), allows you to set different times for each day.

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