Six ways to keep your home safe when you go on holiday – from security to boiler safety

Morning Live: Expert shares advice for home security

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Trips and family holidays are something many households look forward to throughout the year, and the summer is the peak time to pack up and set off for days or even weeks at a time. Leaving your property unattended can be a daunting experience, with everything from energy-draining appliances to unlocked doors to worry about. Making a few simple checks and changes to your home can make your property even safer while you’re away, and these are the six best ways to do it.

Check your home security

Whether you have a home security system or not, there are plenty of ways to make your home more secure against unwanted intruders.

Check the locks

Taking the time to check the locks on every window and door in your home could save you from a nasty surprise upon your return home.

Karl Tulloch, director of Rightio said: “If any of them seem loose or faulty, consider replacing them.

“Don’t forget about your back door and garden gate too. If you make use of a ‘hide-a-key’ then make sure to remove it, since you don’t want to give anyone the chance to bypass your security measures.”

Repurpose existing technology

Installing a home security camera, alarm system or even a video doorbell is one way to check in on your property while you’re away, but you can also make use of what you already have if you’re short on time or money.

The beauty of many smart devices is that they can perform several functions – especially those with screen displays.

Amazon’s Echo Show 5 and Google Nest Hub Max are just two devices which can double up as security cameras for your home.

Most Wi-Fi speakers can be set to play music or a radio station between set times of the day, while many can be set to turn on if motion is detected.

Some smart speakers can even be used to monitor for sounds of an active break-in or alarm going off.

Use timer lights

Leaving a few lights on in your home is often more obvious than you think to potential burglars, so invest in a timer feature to adjust lamps around your home instead.

The timer is attached to a socket which can be set to turn on and off during a specific period, rather than leaving a single light on all day and night.

These can be purchased for as little as £5 in Screwfix and other major retailers – just a small price to pay to keep your home looking active while you’re away.

Hide keys

Keys left in doors, windows, or even in clear view of any on-lookers lurking outside can be problematic if you’re not home.

Keep all sets of car and house keys tucked away in a hidden area while you’re on holiday to avoid tempting a break-in.

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Check your boiler

While most of us will have turned the central heating off already, it is important you check it is set to a suitable temperature if you do still have it on.

Another key check to make on your heating is that your boiler is working well, with no possible signs of a gas leak.

Mr Tulloch said: “A leaking boiler can quickly become a major issue if it isn’t fixed quickly, where a few drops can quickly become a sizeable puddle and water damage to your property will undoubtedly ensue.”

Oftentimes, when they’re caught early on, they’re not much of a problem and can be solved by a gas engineer with little difficulty, so it is crucial that you make the necessary checks or repairs before leaving your home unattended.

Unplug your appliances

Our homes are filled with electronic devices, many of which will be left plugged into various outlets scattered around rooms and across furniture.

While many appliances are generally safe to leave connected all the time, unplugged small items like toasters and kettles could save you both money and unnecessary stress while you’re away.

Mr Tulloch explained that the best way to prevent electrical faults is to keep all large appliances plugged in and switched off at the socket, while smaller items should be unplugged altogether.

He said: “There are a few ways you can check the quality of the electrics in your home, such as listening for buzzing sounds and checking for flickering lights.

“Contact an electrician if you feel that your home could benefit from a more thorough check.

“That way, any faults that might occur won’t cause any damage or potential hazards for when you return.“

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