How to keep your home safe while traveling

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If you’re taking a bit of time away from Ottawa’s frequently-nasty winters, you might be concerned about the safety of your home while you’re enjoying the sun. Here are some tips to help you ensure that your home and valuables are safe while you’re away! A little bit of preparation can go a long way toward your peace of mind.


  1. Watch what you post on social media

    Consider keeping the details of your vacation to a minimum when you’re online, especially if your posts are visible to those other than your friends and family.

  2. Find a house sitter

    A simple way to ensure your home’s safety is to find someone – whether it be a friend, a neighbour, or a professional house sitter – to watch over your home while you’re away. Ask a friend to drive by once a day or so and check on things. Give this person a key so that they can check your mail, feed your cat, water your plants, and check for anything going wrong like frozen pipes. This friend should also have your contact information and your itinerary in case of emergencies.

    A word of warning – if you have more than one person watching your home, be sure to let them know about each other! You don’t want a neighbour calling the police on the friend you asked to stop by and check things, after all.

  3. Stop your mail

    You can request Canada Post to hold your mail while you’re away. They’ll hold all mail for you until you return, and even stop the delivery of fliers while you’re gone, as well.

  4. Don’t leave your trash bins out

    If you’re the only one on the street with your trash bins out all week, it’s obvious to potential intruders that you aren’t there.

  5. Landscaping

    If you have landscaping or hedges around your home, and especially near your window, keep it trimmed back. That way, thieves won’t have a place to hide.

  6. Lighting

    Good lighting is an important factor in keeping your home safe! Every outdoor entrance should have lighting to prevent someone breaking in to a door under cover of darkness. Consider having your outdoor lighting on a motion sensor to deter intruders.

    Consider your indoor lighting as well. If you were to leave lights on the entire time you’re gone, it is another red flag to intruders that you aren’t there. Instead, consider a timer for certain lights in your home. An automatic timer will give the illusion of your home being occupied; also, it will ensure that you don’t come back to a hefty hydro bill!

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