Landed a New Job and Expect to Travel Extensively? Here's How to Protect Your Vacant Home

If you live alone and recently landed a job that will require you to travel extensively, you may be wondering what types of things you can do to protect your home while you are gone. Vacant homes are ideal for burglars, vandals, and squatters, so you'll want to reduce the risks of returning home to find your house ransacked. Also, a vacant home means that nobody will be there to deal with a fire or other type of emergency such as a broken pipe. Here are a few ways you can prepare your home so it will be protected while you are away. 

Install Home Automation

Fully automate your home with a home-automation system. That way, your home will appear occupied instead of vacant. This can be done by installing timers on the lights and other features such as window blinds and curtains. However, using timers may look to obvious if the lights and window coverings are set at the same exact times throughout the duration of your travels. Instead, a home-automation system will allow you to control the lights and window coverings from a mobile device or computer.

It's also a good idea to automate a television or radio as well so normal sounds of occupancy will be heard coming from your home. If your home is in an area where temperatures drop below freezing, connect your home's thermostat to the home-automation system so you can control the temperature from afar.

You can also incorporate a surveillance camera into this system so you can check in whenever you would like. An electrician or a home-security technician can design and install a home-automation system for you. 

Install a Fire-Protection and-Prevention System 

Fires pose serious risk to vacant homes, particularly because nobody is at home to hear the smoke detectors and fire alarms going off. It's crucial that you install a sprinkler system to suppress fires as well as a fire-alarm system that will be monitored by a remote service. If a fire were to start in your home, the heat from the fire will activate the sprinklers and trigger the fire alarm. The alarm will then notify the nearest fire department so the firefighters can protect your home. 

It's a good idea to inform the monitoring service when your home will be vacant and give them a preferred cell-phone number at which you can always be reached. Some systems are designed to automatically alert homeowners via text messaging at the same time that the fire alarm is detected by the monitoring service. 

It's important to have a standalone fire-sprinkler system, which means it will not be connected to your home's existing plumbing but will be an offshoot from the main water line as it enters into your home. Of course, these lines will need to be insulated to protect them from freezing temperatures. 

Install an Automatic Water Shut-Off Valve

One concern you may have is that a major plumbing leak will occur  while you are away, especially during the cold winter months. Even if you take measures to control the temperature inside your home, there may still be a risk of freezing temperatures, particularly if there is a loss of electricity. Install an automatic water shut-off valve in your home's main plumbing lines but not in the fire-sprinkler lines.

This type of valve will shut off the water automatically when it senses that too much water is being used, such as when a pipe bursts. If, however, you are unable to install a separate fire-sprinkler line, do not install an automatic water shut-off valve, or your fire sprinkler system will be ineffective.