If you don’t accidentally leave one of your children at home while you’re traveling for the holidays, then your home truly will be unprotected. And don’t expect Kevin McCallister from Home Alone to defend your home against intruders, either.

Here are seven steps to take before you leave town for the holidays.

1. Set lights on timers.

This is a great trick that makes others think that someone is actually home. Be sure to have the lights turn on and off periodically to make it look believable and to save on your electrical costs. Simple timers and smart plugs can help control when the lights turn on and off.

2. Turn down the heater.

No need to heat an unoccupied home. If you have a smart thermostat you can program the heater to turn on right before you arrive home.

3. Shut off or lower energy consumption of other utilities and appliances.

Shut off water at the main water valve to prevent emergencies and shut off the gas as well, to prevent leaks. Turn off the refrigerator’s ice maker and adjust the temperature in your refrigerator to save power. And don’t forget to empty the fridge of anything perishable!

4. Unplug unnecessary electronics.

Even while you’re home, plugged in electronics use phantom energy that drives up electrical usage. Since you definitely won’t be using electronics at home while you’re away, go through the home and unplug computers, TVs, speakers, coffeemakers, microwaves, and all other electric-powered appliances and devices.

5. Put baking soda in the toilets and sinks.

This simple hack will prevent the smell of stagnant water and won’t cost you a dime.

6. Replace smoke detector batteries.

Test the batteries in your smoke detector and to be extra safe, replace them. You could also upgrade to a smart smoke alarm that will help you monitor battery levels, smoke, and carbon monoxide, and call the fire department on your behalf in case of an emergency.

7. Identify and address weak spots.

Check garage doors, cellar doors, and windows for extra security. Make sure they are fully closed and cannot be broken into while you’re away.

For more tips and professional service, call Roger The Plumber!