Most RVers can’t wait to get out on the open road. Thieves can’t wait for you to leave home, either! It’s estimated that a home burglary occurs every 18 seconds in the United States. That’s an alarming number! But thieves aren’t your only worry. What if a water leak develops? Or the HVAC system malfunctions and causes a fire? Here are a few tips for protecting your home while you’re gone RVing.
DIY high-tech tips to protect your home
There have been many remarkable technological advances in home protection over the past few years. Of course, you can hire a professionally installed security system with 24/7 monitoring, but there are great DIY products on the market, too. The good news is that the cost of DIY high-tech protection has come down in price. Here’s just a sampling of high-tech protection for you to consider.
- Smart alarms. This is the one we have. It monitors our home for smoke and carbon monoxide. A remote notification will appear on our phones if there is a problem. Check Amazon for many other options. You can also purchase smart products that will alert you by email or phone if a water leak is detected in your home. Knowing that you have a problem enables you to alert authorities or a trusted neighbor to check things out for you.
- Smart plugs. We bought several of these to attach to various lights and appliances throughout our home. You can set a timer to automatically turn on/off lights, radio/TVs, fans, and more, or control the settings with your cell phone. If a potential thief is “casing” your home, it will appear as if someone is inside, using the lights, TV, and more—especially if the plugs react randomly.
- Interior cameras. Several interior camera features include recording capability, motion detection, night vision, two-way audio, and connectivity to your cell phone. All will offer you peace of mind while away from home.
- Exterior cameras. Weather-resistant outdoor cameras come in a variety of makes and models. Even less expensive models feature motion detection, full-color night vision, sirens, and more. Most have cell phone monitoring, as well.
- Smart door locks. These products are a little pricier but do provide many perks along with deadbolt protection. For example, some smart door locks work off an app that you can use to set and change codes whenever someone needs access to your home. (Like the gal who comes once a week to water indoor plants.) Other smart lock models “ping” your cell phone when motion is detected, and some allow for two-way communication.
You don’t necessarily need to be a “techie” in order to keep your home safe while RVing. There are many non-tech tips that work, too.
- Trusted neighbor. Ask a neighbor to check on your home periodically, especially to check the sides and back of the house. (A thief will usually enter a home in the spot least visible from the street.) Invite the neighbor to park a car in your driveway, to give the appearance that someone is home, too. I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you protect your home while you’re gone.
- Lawn care. Ask someone to mow your yard, rake leaves, shovel snow, etc., while you’re away. Do everything you can to give the impression that someone is home.
- Lock it up. Make sure ladders, tools, etc., are locked securely inside the garage or house. (You don’t want to make things easier for a would-be thief.) Lock your large garage door(s) by disabling the remote door opener if you have one. If your garage has a side or back door to the outside, be sure it’s also securely locked. Double-check all windows and doors in your home to make sure they are also locked. (Double-cylinder deadbolts are highly recommended by security experts.) If you have sentimental or expensive items that you won’t be taking with you, make sure to store them in a bank lock box or home safe. And don’t forget to secure the doggie door or other pet entrance into your home. Some thieves are adept at contortion-like maneuvers when highly motivated. If you have a fenced yard, be sure to lock the gate(s).
- Stop deliveries. Stop all mail, UPS, newspaper, or other home delivery for the time you’ll be away from your home. Ask a trusted neighbor to pull any fliers left at your door (like political pamphlets) or on your lawn (from a lawn care provider).
- Don’t announce your plans. Do not post your vacation plans on social media. It’s a good idea not to broadcast your plans except for people who need to know.
- Remove your “hidden” key. Many folks keep an extra house key in a potted plant, fake rock, or (please say it isn’t so) under the welcome mat. (Yipes!) If you plan to be away, it’s best to bring that “hidden key” inside the house. Maybe forever.
- Clean the keypad. Dingy fingerprints on your coded entry system can be a dead giveaway to a burglar. Clean it off just to be safe.
- Protect electronics. Unplug the computer, TVs, and other appliances or make sure they are safely connected to a surge protector.
- Turn water off. We always have the city turn off our water while we’re gone. It not only saves us money, but it ensures that no water leaks or burst pipes will cause damage. When we get home we’ll ask the city to turn the water back on. That way, we’re home to see (or hear) any leaks that may occur when the water pressure surges back through the pipes.
What are some additional steps you take to protect your home while RVing? Share your tips in the comments below.