Home & Garden

Ways to keep your home safe while on vacation

Summer is a great time to make vacation plans.

But if you want peace of mind while you're away, make safety-proofing your home part of those plans.

Trouble thy neighbor: Ask a trusted neighbor, friend or relative to make periodic checks. If you use more than one person, make sure they know about each other. We forgot once and got a frantic call from our neighbor who caught a man looking around. It was my dad -- who was also asked to help.

Stay mum: Don't tell too many people that you plan to be away.

Keep mail safe: Ask the post office to hold your mail -- which can be done for three to 30 days. Fill out a request (Form 8076) at your local post office or call 800-275-8777. You may also be able to do it online.

Shut off computers, laptops and major appliances. Doing so saves electricity and helps keep your expensive items safe in the event of a power surge. Adding surge protectors is smart, too.

Prevent widespread water damage from a potential leak by placing splash pans under water heaters and washing machines, recommends Home Improvement expert Eric Stromer.