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Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER
Old 05-09-2007, 03:53 AM   #1
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Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER

We intend to travel in ER. We have been considering getting a condo because it may make things easier when we travel. However, we really would prefer having a ranch.

Any ideas on how to (easily) keep the home secure and maintained while traveling for 2 or 3 months at a time. I think keeping the yard up will not be a problem. We will probably be home in the summer except for maybe 1 or 2 week trips.

But making sure water lines have not burst, no break in, etc... is an issue. I have considered getting DW sister or brother to check in on the home (we would make it worth their while), plus getting a paid security service.

What da think?
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER
Old 05-09-2007, 06:32 AM   #2
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER

We travel for 2-3 months out of the year and haven't had any problem with security or maintenance in our 3 level home in the northeast.

For security we haven't done anything special other than letting a couple of very trusted neighbors know we're gone, giving them a spare key, and asking them to call us if they see anything unusual. We live in a pretty secure area, though, so not sure if I would be this lax in other places. It really helps to have nice neighbors, and we are sure to bring them back a nice gift, and let them know that we are willing to return the favor whenever they need it.

Maintenance has also not been a problem but I think we've been lucky with this previous harsh winter. I lower the thermostat to 50 in the winter but didn't shut off the water to the house. In the future I will, because I took a risk that the pipes might freeze, fortunately they didn't. At 50 pipes won't freeze inside the house but the outside water lines might freeze where they come into the home. When we read in the paper that the temp back home got to single digits I called my neighbor who has a key and asked them to look in the house to make sure there were no water leaks. This is more than I would usually ask, and as I said, next time I will shut the water off.

We used to have a vacation home in the Colorado mountains that we sold a long time ago, but winter maintenance there was more of an issue. I would shut the water off, drain the lines down to the lowest level, a small room that we kept at 50 degrees, and pour a little antifreeze into the traps and the toilets.

Back to the current situation, in summer we don't do anything special, but we clean and vacuum well and spray for bugs all through the home to make sure they don't get a start. We pay a neighbor's son to cut the grass every week or two, stop the paper, forward our mail, and again let the trusted neighbors know we're gone. Oh, we also leave a light on so it appears as if someone is here but I doubt if that is much of a deterrent., and we have outside solar lights to keep the area from being completely dark. To save electricity I unplug all of the "instant on" appliances like TVs that may be off but still use electricity to stay warm, my internet router, etc.

Another thing we do is empty the fridge of anything that might spoil and only had a problem when it broke down one time and all the meat in the freezer went bad. Yuck. It was so bad we couldn't get the smell out and had to replace the fridge with a new one.

As I said, we've had no problems. But if I were to take the next step, I might install a security system, but I hesitate because I might get some false alarms and not be able to do anything about them.
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER
Old 05-09-2007, 10:16 AM   #3
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER

The gal's Mom is out in the sticks on a pretty deserted deadend road - 1 mile, 2 houses. When she and her hubby were traveling the biggest security thing they did was to put a hefty chain across the driveway. Most thieves are like the rest of us - take what's easy. If they can't drive up to the house to load up with goodies they are likely to pass on the adventure. Make removing the chain difficult and mount it as far from the house as possible. The stone house below did get broken into. Car tracks right up to the house. Nice when you can carry all your implements of destruction in the trunk.
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER
Old 05-09-2007, 10:39 AM   #4
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER

One suggestion is to be very cautious about letting people know you will be gone. Several years ago, a co-worker casually mentioned while waiting in line at a restaurant that she and her husband (who had a large gun collection) were going to be on vacation for two weeks.
The day they left on vacation, one of their neighbors (who didn't know they were on vacation) noticed a large truck backed up to their house for most of the day -- but didn't check any further, thinking that they were having some work done in their house. Turned out the thieves actually watched my co-worker and her husband pack up their car (on the driveway, not in their garage - dumb!), had someone follow them to the airport, then returned with the truck --they pulled the door right out of the frame-- and proceeded to clear out the entire house -- furniture, gun collection, everything! They were caught several weeks later and it came out that they got the idea after one of them heard my co-worker mention the vacation...they recognized her from a recent gun show and took it from there!
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER
Old 05-09-2007, 11:39 AM   #5
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achiever51
One suggestion is to be very cautious about letting people know you will be gone. Several years ago, a co-worker casually mentioned while waiting in line at a restaurant that she and her husband (who had a large gun collection) were going to be on vacation for two weeks.
The day they left on vacation, one of their neighbors (who didn't know they were on vacation) noticed a large truck backed up to their house for most of the day -- but didn't check any further, thinking that they were having some work done in their house. Turned out the thieves actually watched my co-worker and her husband pack up their car (on the driveway, not in their garage - dumb!), had someone follow them to the airport, then returned with the truck --they pulled the door right out of the frame-- and proceeded to clear out the entire house -- furniture, gun collection, everything! They were caught several weeks later and it came out that they got the idea after one of them heard my co-worker mention the vacation...they recognized her from a recent gun show and took it from there!
Heh. Pure coincidence perhaps, but when going to school in Santa Fe NM I lived outside of town a few miles. When I went home on vacation I locked up and notified the police so they could check on my little bungalow - doing the right thing I thought. That was the one time my place was broken into and robbed. Not like I had anything of value back in the college days... Funnier yet was that when I came back and found I had been robbed I called the police again to have them come out and fingerprint and investigate (yeah, that's good use of resources, hunting for maybe $150 worth of stuff, max!). When I was insistent they said they would be right out. It then dawned on me that I should hide my stash of smoke that the thieves had missed - darted off to bury it in an arroyo. Oh, I'm a smart one I am!
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER
Old 05-13-2007, 10:04 AM   #6
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Re: Ideas on how to keep home secure when traveling in ER

We have two very trustworthy neighbors who watch over our place while we're away. One has the house and car keys, and a drawing where things like the main water shut-off, breaker box, and thermostat are located. We also let them know...and leave a note (as a reminder)....if anything extra needs to be checked or done (like watering the house plants), or if the neighbor kid is going to be around to take care of the yard or garden. The neighbor also picks up the mail and the newspaper each day, that way the delivery people don't even know we're gone.

We also have a light timers to turn on and off a lamp or two in the evening....just like when we're actually home. Our outside porch light has a motion sensor, so if anyone wanders anywhere near the house, it comes on and the neighbor can see it. We also have a self-installed burglar alarm with two 12" diameter alarm bells....one outside that can be heard for BLOCKS! And one inside that will just about cause deafness and ear bleeding!

We "test" our alarm several time a year....especially when the rapscallions are out roaming around the neighborhood. It lets them know they won't be able to sneak in quietly!!!
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