Thursday, September 21, 2023


Follow these important steps to protect your home while you’re gone RVing

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

Many remarkable technological advances in home protection have occurred over the past few years. Of course, you can hire a professionally installed security system with 24/7 monitoring, but great DIY products are 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.

Low-tech tips

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.


##RVDT1927 ##RVDT2188

Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


  1. We have a boiler/hot water baseboard heat and can not turn off our water, so have moisture sensors near our furnace, tankless hot water tank and where the well water comes into the house. We have temperature monitors, with low limits set in multiple places in the house. We have a camera on the pilot flame of the furnace. We have other interior and exterior cameras, along with motion sensor lights. We have a whole house Generac generator, and we are in the process of having a cellular device installed on it and will have an app on the phone, that monitors the generator so if there is a failure we will get notified (We actually had a failure last winter) We have a Phyn water monitoring system that monitors water usage and will shut off the water to the house, leak is not ID. We also have ring doorbell and a keypad so our neighbor can come over to check once a week, she also drives her car in the drive so it looks like the drive is being used and we continue to have our drive plowed while out of town. If we needed to have a plumber or furnace person come in we could still arrange to have that happen. We are so grateful that we live in the times with all this tech so easily available to us. It may sound like a lot, our home is complicated with well water, boiler furnace, some of our systems may be redundant, but gives us peace of mind.

  2. Be cautious about recommending smart devices. In addition to being useful to you, many are potential open doors to your home network to those with nefarious intentions.

  3. Our local police department offers a service where you fill out a form and they will check on your house while you are gone. They drive by every day and once a week they walk around the house and check the doors and windows. For us the service is free (part of our taxes).
    We also have our neighbors keep an eye on the house. Also we have a HVAC company that offers a service where we drop off a key and they keep it in a lock box. If we have any water or heating issues we can call them and they can get in and fix the problem. There is no cost unless we call them. It’s great to live in a small town.

  4. Our insurance agent told us 25 years ago to always turn the water off when going on vacation. We do the same when leaving our campsite for a few hours or a day trip.

    • I always turn the main water valve off in our home when we leave, and also do it at a campground. I have a neighbor that keeps an eye on the place and can get into the house if needed. Hardley ever tell anyone when we are leaving other than stop the mail.

  5. You mention bringing the “hidden key” inside the house but not what to do with it after you do. Don’t just hang it up on the key holder along with all of your other extra keys and call it good. When we leave, we take the keys we aren’t bringing with us off the key holder and secure them in a safe.

  6. Our Simplisafe alarm system does all of the things listed in the first list for a very reasonable monthly fee. 24/7 monitoring service, inside and outside cameras, fire, CO, motion, glass break, water and temperature sensors and even ear splitting sirens. They call us wherever we are if something alarms. Base station has cell connectivity as well as wifi and runs on its internal battery system for hours if the power goes out. Very pleased with it.
    Our local Sherriff’s office has a vacation notification program too. They’ll schedule drive-bys while we’re away.

  7. Gail you forgot one very important thing – electric power. Without it, no Internet. No Internet all the fancy tech will do nothing for you. Install an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) on your Internet and make sure you have some means of figuring out that the house has no power.
    We leave our house near Lake Superior and its multiple feet of snowfall, every winter. Cameras monitor snow loads on roofs, we have a thermostat that can be remotely monitored and controlled (and a camera that watches a interior thermometer). We have a generator, and most of all, we have somebody on-call with a key to deal with any issues – but we might not know about those issues without a big UPS.

  8. Be very leery of telling delivery companies that you’re going to be away some of their drivers work with criminals. They tell them when you have a nice looking package they can come and steal or when you’re away and the home can be broken into

    • Easy fix, either wait to order till you get back or order only if it will arrive before you go on your trip. Regarding the latter, you can always pay the extra fee to ensure delivery before you set off.

  9. Just as we winterize our RV, we drain the water in our plumbing. We have well water so the pump’s power is switched off. And the water heater’s LP is shut off, too. One entire summer spent drying our flooded basement was our inspiration. We live in Michigan.

  10. Living in a hurricane prone area, we installed roll down metal shutters on all windows and doors. Once down, the bad guys will be looking for an easier target.
    Never mind the complete outside video coverage and the cyber locks on the main doors.
    The garage door has been reinforced and without power is extremely difficult to move. Disconnect the emergency release on the garage door opener and it’s impossible from the outside to lift and enter.

  11. We’ve had neighbors’ homes broken into, in our subdivision, when the thief pried open sliding glass doors (our home has 2 sets). I cut a piece of 1.5” pvc pipe the width of one door & place it in the slide rail on the floor so to make it impossible to slide the door open. An old broom handle or pool cue would work too.


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