If you have ever left for vacation and wondered if you forgot to do something, this checklist is for you.
- Get the Mail stopped. In many places, the request form can be filled out online.
- Have the newspaper delivery held or get one of the neighbors to pick up the paper. Nothing says 'we are not home' like a pile of newspapers in the driveway.
- Arrange to get the lawn mowed. Set the sprinkler to run on the usual day. We have come home to either long grass or a dried-out lawn.
- Unplug any non-essential appliances. The Tivo or DVR may be left on if weekly recordings are wanted. Lightning storms wreak havoc on electronics if a strike hits near the house.
- Turn the water off to the washing machine. Turn off the water to the toilets and faucets. You don't want to come home to a flooded house if a hose bursts.
- Set the ice maker to the off position.
- Verify all windows and doors are locked. Maybe the kids wanted to get something from the backyard just before you leave and they left the door unlocked.
- Set two digital timers to control lamps in the living room and bedroom. Set these timers to turn on and off at different times simulating your normal presence. Don't just leave a light turned on... this is known as a 'burglar beacon'.
- Set window blinds to prevent someone from seeing nobody is home.
- Set or program the AC thermostat so that it will not run as hard when you are away.
- If you have a swimming pool, set it so the water is drawn from the sump rather than the surface skimmer. If the water level drops below the level of the surface skimmer the pump will burn out.
- Set the burglar alarm if you have one. Notify the Neighborhood Watch or civic association that you will be away. In many cases, the association uses off-duty police to patrol and these will provide a courtesy check on the house for you.
- Tell a trusted neighbor to watch the house and let them know you expect no visitors. Have them pick up any parcel deliveries that may be left at your door.