Quick Tips

Quick Tip: 5 Tips on Keeping Your Home Safe During the Holidays

Thursday, December 6, 2018

To the Harrys and Marvs of the world, the holidays are a ripe time.

People are putting those fireplaces to good use, away from their homes and getting packages delivered to their doors. Others yet may be so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle — ensuring everything is ready to go by whichever date — that they forget about the small things, like leaving presents in a car or leaving doors or windows unlocked.

And, the Dec. 23 to Jan. 1 period boasts one of the heaviest travel times, with 2017 bringing in a record number of U.S. travelers at 107.3 million, according to AAA.

If you’re one of those travelers — even if you’ll just be away for two or three days — you’ll want to ensure you’re keeping your home safe during the holidays. And we at Kinetic by Windstream are here to help with these five holiday safety tips:

1. Keep an Eye on Your Heating Devices

You may not be getting any snow for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be cold!

If you’re opting for a cozy fire, don’t forget to inspect your chimney, give it a good sweeping if needed and open the flute. If you’re using a space heater, take the necessary precautions like placing it on a level, nonflammable surface, never leaving it unattended and ensuring that it’s placed far enough away from any flammable materials (including a real pine or fir tree that you may not be watering enough).

The National Fire Protection Association reported that 15 percent of all home fires from 2011-2015 stemmed from heating equipment, and the most common type of equipment involved are space heaters.

And, should anything go wrong, make sure that all of your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are up to speed. You’ll likely hear a chirping sound if either device is in need of new batteries, or spring for a smart smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm, like Nest Protect, which can give you early warnings, phone alerts and control when you’re away!

2. Don’t Leave Items Unattended

This one may be obvious, but here’s a reminder just in case: Don’t leave your items unattended. That includes purses in the grocery cart to leaving your trunk open as you’re going back and forth from the house to pack up the presents.

And don’t forget your packages! Boxes left outside your home can easily be swiped while you’re away at work. If you’re waiting on something particularly valuable to be shipped to your home, arrange to pick it up at a carrier’s location, or know when your packages arrive with video doorbells, like Ring.

3. Add a Few Extra Eyes on Your Home

Getting a few extra eyes on your home can easily deter thieves, too. If you’re going to be out for an extended period of time, ask a trusted neighbor or friend to pop in to your home every now and then to ensure everything is OK. They can also collect your mail, any of your subscriptions and any other shipments. (This will make it appear as though someone is home.)

Here’s where we’re also going to plug in the home security system. One study found that about 60 percent of convicted burglars said a security system influenced their decision to target another home. Have a security system already? Don’t forget to prominently place those yard signs or stickers showing your home is protected.

If not, don’t fret. There are a number of things you still can do, including getting a complete smart home security package, like those from Nest or Honeywell, but if you aren’t ready for a full implementation, try indoor or outdoor cameras, sensors and lights. Many of these also come in a smart technology format.

4. Put Your Lights on a Timer

Before smart home technology was ever a thing, there were light timers. Folks would place lamps or other forms of lighting on a timer so as to appear home when they actually weren’t. These will range in pricing and capabilities, but the gist of many is that you’ll be able to set when your lights go on and off, and for how long they might stay on. With the advent of smart home tech, though, there are now also smart lights, such as Phillips Hue and C by GE. Like any other smart devices, you can control these from your phone, as long as you have an Internet connection!

5. Check Your Cords and Electrical Outlets

And lastly, before you head out for the holidays, take a look at all the cords you’re keeping plugged in and make sure they are intact. Frayed cords can lead to electrical shock or even may spark a fire.

You may want to go ahead and unplug your electrical appliances that you won’t be needing and may find that you’ll save a few bucks over the holidays! Or, if you completely forget, invest in some smart plugs beforehand, and you’ll be able to turn whatever’s plugged into those on or off when you please!

Use some or all of these holiday safety tips to protect your home this season! And remember that with a growth in always-connected devices, like smart home technology, you’ll want a robust connection, like that of Kinetic Gig, that can give you unlimited high speed Internet to power them all at once. Learn more about what Kinetic Gig can do for you, or see if it’s available in your area!