As summer turns to fall, people with vacation homes begin to pack up and head back to their full-time residence. Our Vacation Security Checklist pointed out some unique security needs that come with leaving your home empty during vacation season. Likewise, leaving your vacation home empty as vacations wind down also creates security issues that require addressing. In this post, we share some valuable ideas for improving vacation home security.
We will begin with some tips on involving friends and neighbors in your security plan. The more eyes you have on your vacant vacation spot, the better. Community involvement can go a long way towards providing a measure of security and peace of mind. From there, we will share some tips on making your absence less conspicuous. We will also take a look at some security equipment that you can install to monitor your vacation home in your absence. Finally, we’ll take a look at sensors that alert you to potentially damaging environmental conditions in your vacation home. Let’s begin by exploring how your neighbors and community can help monitor your vacation home.
Use Your Community Relationships to Improve Vacation Home Security
When we meet with customers, we often stress the role of the neighborhood in overall home security. When it comes to vacation homes, this role only increases. After all, vacation homes often sit vacant for long portions of the year. Our post on Taking Steps to Defeat Smart Criminals points out that thieves prefer breaking into empty houses. This makes vacation homes an ideal target for burglars. We recommend talking to neighbors and letting them know when you plan on leaving for the year. If you have neighbors who live near your vacation home full-time, you may even ask them to stop by the house every now and then to check on it. We also suggest letting the local police department know when you plan on leaving every year. This can make the authorities more alert towards any suspicious activities around your home after your departure.
Additionally, make sure your post office resumes sending your mail to your full-time residence before your return. Ask a neighbor to grab any mail that might get dropped off after your departure as well. A build-up of mail is a sure sign of an empty home. Even if you’ve resumed mail service at your primary residence, you may still have restaurant menus or store flyers dropped off at your vacation home. Having these items removed for you can give your home less appeal for thieves casing a neighborhood. Let’s look at another tip for giving your home less “curb appeal” for criminals.
Maintain Appearances for Your Vacation Home’s Exterior
Empty vacation homes often have a certain “look” about them that betrays the fact that their residents have left for the year. An unkempt lawn, a buildup of autumn leaves, and other tell-tale signs of an empty home can attract the wrong kind of attention. Furthermore, overgrown bushes and shrubbery can even provide a thief with cover before they commit a crime. We recommend hiring trusted friends of a landscaping company to keep the exterior of your vacation home well-groomed. Later on, we’ll also discuss installing some smart home equipment that can help your vacation home maintain an “occupied” appearance. But first, let’s take a look at some security equipment that can help you monitor your seasonal residence all year long.
Install Home Security and Surveillance Systems
Installing a residential burglar alarm adds both security and peace of mind for our customers. A home security system creates a blaring siren response upon activation that can spook a thief into fleeing. Additionally, a monitored alarm system also communicates with our central station to alert homeowners to an alarm situation and create a police response if necessary. We always recommend adding this service to a home security system. In fact, we offer several monitoring services that can add security for your vacation home or full-time residence. Feel free to read up on our post detailing Unique Security Monitoring Options for a full rundown.
In addition to burglar alarms, many of our customers install home surveillance on vacation properties. The ability to view your seasonal residence any time you wish, as well as review recorded footage of any incident that may occur, make this a popular security addition. Furthermore, the presence of cameras encourages potential thieves to choose another target. Very few security measures deter theft like the sight of cameras. Now, let’s look at a couple very specific security features that can increase the effectiveness of your vacation home’s existing alarm system.
Utilize Remote Monitoring and Smart Home Features for Additional Security
As we mentioned earlier, we strongly recommend that customers have their alarm systems monitored. Furthermore, we also recommend using an interactive cellular dialer to monitor their alarm systems. These dialers provide a couple security advantages. For starters, cellular dialers do not count on a physical phone line to communicate with our central station. This means that your alarm can dial out for help even if your phones go down, whether due to bad weather or to burglars cutting your phone wires in an attempt to disable alarm communication. Additionally, interactive cellular dialers, such as ours powered by Alarm.com, allow users to arm and disarm their security systems remotely.
This can come in handy in many instances. For example, maybe you’ve left your vacation spot for the year and can’t recall if you activated the alarm. Instead of having to turn around, now you can simply grab your phone and check. If you did forget, you can fix the problem and arm the system with one press of a button. Or maybe you have neighbors stopping by to check on your home. Rather than give them an alarm code, you can disarm the security system for them remotely. After they’ve left, simply use your phone to arm the security system again.
Finally, our interactive cellular dialer also acts as a Z-Wave smart home hub. The Z-Wave platform is one of the largest and most trusted smart home platforms. We offer many smart home products including lights, thermostats, locks, garage door openers, and more. These devices can increase both security and convenience. Do you want to use smart lights that you can control from your phone to make your vacation home look occupied? How about installing a smart lock that you can lock and unlock from remotely to let guests in? Or maybe equipping your home with a smart thermostat so you can always monitor your vacation home’s temperature? Our cellular dialer allows you to do all of this and more. We recommend our 7 Important Security System Add-Ons for Your Smart Home for even more ideas. Now, let’s look at one more tip for increasing security in your vacation home.
Take Advantage of Fire Detection Equipment and Environmental Sensors
Adding monitored smoke and carbon monoxide (or “CO”) detection to a vacation home can go a long way towards detecting and creating a response to an emergency in your absence. We always recommend adding these devices, as fire and CO pose such a threat to a home’s safety and security. This threat only multiplies when dealing with a home that is only occupied during a portion of the year. In addition to the security benefit, alarm customers often receive a “bonus” benefit for adding this detection. As we pointed out in our post detailing Smart Security Tips to Save You Money, insurance companies often offer discounts for installing monitored smoke and CO detection. In some instances, this discount more than makes up for the cost of installing these detectors!
In addition to equipment that monitors for smoke and CO, we also offer environmental sensors that monitor for other extreme conditions. For example, we offer sensors that detect extreme temperatures. If a pipe freezes, this may alert you to the condition before it becomes a disaster. We also offer alarm sensors that detect water to alert you to potential flooding. Knowing about the presence of water as early as possible allows you (or a neighbor that you trust) to check on the situation. Our aforementioned smart thermostats can also act as an environmental sensor. These thermostats can alert you to temperatures outside of a specified range. Obviously, time is of the essence when an environmental emergency occurs. Having these devices in place adds both security and peace of mind, as you know that if something does go wrong, you can find out as soon as the signs first emerge.
Putting it All Together and Improving Vacation Home Security
We hope this post has given you some valuable information that you can use to help secure your vacation home. Additionally, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have. We provide free site surveys for both full-time and part-time residences. While on site, we can discuss any security measures you may wish to take. Furthermore, we can make suggestions of our own based on what we see. Together, we can address the unique topic of vacation home security to keep your “home away from home” as secure as possible.