1. Don't turn your thermostat off:
- Before leaving for an extended trip, it's important to lock in a safe temperature in your central heating system. If you live somewhere with cold winters, don't turn your thermostat off! To prevent your pipes from freezing, set the temperature lower than usual — ideally between 40 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Live in a warmer climate? Leave the thermostat at about 69 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can completely avoid worry by controlling your thermostat remotely if you have a smart thermostat.
- As a fun bonus, if you subscribe to Ooma, it detects when your thermostat is on "Away" mode and will automatically forward any home calls to your mobile device.
2. Shut off the gas and unplug all your appliances:
- Always turn off gas-powered devices such as stoves, ovens, and fireplaces, and unplug all appliances. This can prevent any accidental fires and potentially hazardous carbon monoxide leaks into your home, as well as save energy. This is especially important if you have pets at home who can't defend themselves against unforeseen hazards.
- For an added layer of protection, Ooma can warn you via text and direct you to call 911 when your smart smoke/carbon monoxide detector has been triggered.
3. Don't keep your holiday travel a secret:
- When leaving home for several days, tell someone you trust where you'll be in case of an emergency, such as a fire, burglary, or carbon monoxide leak. Friends staying in town or a thoughtful neighbor could be options. They can keep an eye out for suspicious activity and notify you of any out-of-the-ordinary occurrences. We've also recently featured the Canary, which offers live-time video and acts as a home monitoring system regarding air quality as well.
- If you're taking your car, considering purchasing a Traveler Roadside Kit, just to have in case of emergencies when you're on the road. Let your trusted friend back home know your travel itinerary, and update them along the way. If you go "dark" for too long, you have someone who can alert authorities, and give them your rough location, which is helpful during those snowy months when cell service may be spotty on the road.
4. Leverage technology to monitor your home:
- Thanks to technology, our homes are getting smarter and smarter. Did you know there are countless apps that can connect to systems in our homes — from central temperature to security systems to light bulbs, that can connect and leave you "plugged in" while you're away. Most smart home systems connect to the Amazon Echo or the Google Home, as do many other elements such as your robotic vacuum, timers, light switches, and even Uber.
- Ooma can even notify you via cell phone or text message anytime 911 is called from your home.
Don't be left in the dark while you're away this holiday season. Between good old-fashioned friendly neighbors and ground breaking technology, worrying about your home while you're away should be a thing of Christmases past.
Photo Credits: Memoirs Photography