Let electricity keep your house safe while traveling

Traveling is more fun and relaxing when you don’t have to worry about whether your home is safe and secure. Here are five ways to prevent mishaps and save energy during your absence.

Create the illusion that someone is home. Ask a trusted neighbor to pick up newspapers, mail, and home deliveries that might arrive while you’re away. A pile of newspapers in the driveway is an invitation to an intruder looking for an empty house to break into.

Attach your outdoor lights to timers. Instead of leaving them on to burn day and night while you’re gone, install a timer that will switch the lights on when it gets dark and off when the sun comes up each day.

Indoors, plug lamps into programmable timers set to “random” so the lights turn on and off throughout the day and evening. That will make your home look lived-in. You also can plug a TV or stereo into a timer so your house sounds lived-in, too.

Motion detectors will not only light your property when your neighbor stops by to check on it, but they will also turn the outdoor lights on if anyone approaches your home — making it harder for an intruder to hide. They also save you energy because you won’t have to pay for lights to burn when nobody is around to benefit from them.

Unplug electronic devices like your TV, computer, printer, and small kitchen appliances before you leave. Left plugged into a wall socket, those items continue to draw small amounts of electricity that show up on your energy bill.