ROSIE ON THE HOUSE

Heading out? Ensure your Arizona home is secure with these tips

Mar 7, 2024, 3:00 PM

Safe holding valuable items inside....

(Shuttershock Photo)

(Shuttershock Photo)

Are you planning a big vacation during spring break or during the summer heat? Here are some ideas about securing your Arizona house against intruders and preventing other problems while you’re away.

Taking a little care in advance can make you feel more relaxed at the beach or in the mountains. Here are 18 suggestions- some new and some reminders:

1 | Make sure your exterior doors have deadbolts.

Many people worry about burglars when they leave their homes. It is always a good idea to lock the doors and windows when you leave for a long trip or even to go out to dinner. Burglaries are more common in the summer when people leave their homes open or leave for vacation. Historically burglaries are most common in the daytime but, there has been a recent rash of dinnertime burglaries in the valley.

Make sure the main exterior doors all have deadbolts with a one-inch throw. You can also install security screen doors – with deadbolt locks — for extra protection.

2 | Invest in a security system.

If you’ve been thinking of having a security system with alarms in your home, now might be a good time to install one. Be sure to turn it on when you leave. We recommend a monitored security system for maximum protection. Relying on a DIY security system that uses WIFI is only as reliable as your internet. Crafty criminals have learned to jam the internet at prospective homes thereby disabling those systems.

3 | Upgrade to smart technology such as smart locks.

If you expect someone—like a repairman or relative—to visit your house when you’re away or during an emergency, consider installing a smart lock so that you can open the door via smartphone.

4 | Give a friend your key.

Ask a neighbor or a friend to watch the house and leave a key with them for emergencies. Don’t hide keys under doormats or pots near the door. t’s too easy for burglars to figure out. The hide-a-key options at the hardware store that look like a rock are risky as they won’t fool a pro. You can hire someone to stay at your house or visit regularly for extra security.

5 | Have someone move your trash can.

Ask a friend or neighbor to take out your trash can and bring it back in on garbage pickup day to suggest that the house is occupied.

6 | Control your lighting with Smart Switches and apps

Install timers on lights, TVs, or other electronic devices so they go on and off while you’re away. Choose timers that will randomly turn things on and off so the situation looks more realistic.

Or, if you have a smartphone, install smart switches that utilize an app. We like the brand Leviton. It is an easy system to use, and this technology allows you to control the lighting from wherever you may be! Leviton’s motion sensors are also a good deterrent.

7 | Secure your car and garage.

When parking your car at an airport lot for a long time, don’ t leave keys or garage door openers inside the vehicle. Be sure to lock your garage doors securely. To prevent anyone from intentionally or accidentally opening the door electronically, lock them from the wall-mounted garage door opener. You can prevent the door from being manually opened by using the slide lock inside your garage door located a third of the way up.

8 | Put a hold on your mail and the press!

You should stop mail and subscription services and any package delivery made at your door a few days before you leave until you return.

9 | Invest in a safe.

Keep valuables and spare cash in a safe in a non-obvious location in the house. The first-place thieves go is the primary bedroom. If you don’t have a safe, temporarily store valuables in an unusual place, like a kitchen cabinet. Remember where you left them! Snap a photo of the hiding place with your phone.

10 | Be mindful of what you leave out.

Don’t leave spare car keys in obvious places in the house. A burglar might break in, find a car key, and drive off in the car you left at home. Other things to hide away include password books, bank statements, bills, or mail with detailed information.

11 | Ask a neighbor to tidy up for you or maintain regular landscape service.

If you will be gone a month or more, have someone clean up any debris or plant materials that build up around your house. Nothing is more evident that a home is unoccupied than bird’s nests being built around your front door.

12 | Keep things looking natural.

Keep blinds, shutters, and shades in their usual positions. When everything is closed tightly, it’s a sign that nobody will be home for a long time.

13 | Wait to post pictures.

While you’re away, don’t send photos to widely read social media sites. A picture of you in front of Westminster Abbey clearly indicates that your house is empty and vulnerable.

14 | Prep for the heat.

This isn’t a good time to turn off the air conditioner. You want to raise the thermostat, but not higher than the mid-80s. Otherwise, the heat can be tough on your furniture and appliances. Put a water jug or two in your refrigerator so that it runs more efficiently. You might also want to leave a five-gallon bucket of water somewhere in the house to maintain the humidity for the benefit of plumbing p- traps, furniture, and artwork.

15 | Shut off the fan.

Don’t keep ceiling fans running. They don’t cool a room off; they only provide cooling for you when moisture evaporates from your skin.

16 | Monitor your water.

Many homeowners worry about water pipes or water heaters leaking when they’re away. You can buy one of the many smart leak detection devices on the market. Most are battery-powered and sell for $50 or less. These are small sensors you put on the floor or in a cabinet next to pipes or appliances like a water heater or refrigerators. They sound an alarm you can hear if you’re around, but you will want a sensor to alert your smartphone when you’re away so that you can dispatch a plumber.

17 | Have a whole-house shut-off valve installed.

A shut- off valve is an even better option to prevent water damage. Have a whole-house water shut-off valve that you turn off when leaving your home for a long time. A plumber can install one outside the house so that the last thing you do before leaving is shut off the water. The valves can be setup, so they do not stop water to your indoor fire sprinkler system o outdoor irrigation pipes in the yard. If you do this, turn down the water heater and disconnect the water softener.

18 | Notify the right people.

Local police will often keep an eye on your home if they know it is empty. Call to see what is available. Let the security guards in a gated community know that you will be gone.

Join Rosie on the House every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email info@rosieonthehouse.com. Follow us on X and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions and comments.

Rosie On The House

(Shuttershock Photo)...

Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of RosieontheHouse.com

Stay aware of how much water you’re wasting in your Arizona home

Have you ever wondered if you are doing everything you can to minimize water use at your home? Here are some practical tips.

1 day ago

(Shuttershock Photo)...

Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of RosieontheHouse.com

Here are essential tips for saving your energy dollars

There are some simple activities you can undertake at home to help save energy and money before the inevitable hot temperatures.

8 days ago

Garage door springs....

Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of RosieontheHouse.com

Maintaining your garage door: Tips for safety and longevity

From visual inspections to sensor alignment, learn how to prolong the lifespan of your garage door while prioritizing safety.

15 days ago

After cutting the tip to accommodate the right diameter of caulk for your project, use a nail or th...

Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of RosieontheHouse.com

Make caulking easier with these tips

Whether you are caulking a new joint or replacing worn-out caulking, the only difference will be in the prep.

22 days ago

(Shuttershock Photo)...

Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of RosieontheHouse.com

Beyond the pool: A comprehensive guide to water safety for all ages

Learn how to prevent drowning incidents among teens, adults, and children of all ages. Stay informed and keep your loved ones safe year-round.

29 days ago

White pipe....

Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of RosieontheHouse.com

Here’s a guide for homeowners who want to master DIY plumbing

From handling drain clogs to changing faucets and maintaining water heaters, here are step-by-step instructions to empower you to become a proficient DIY plumber.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Heading out? Ensure your Arizona home is secure with these tips