Winter Tips for Time Away from Home

Here are a few helpful tips for residents who plan to be away from home during the colder months and/or the holidays:

1.) Avoid frozen pipes. Residents may want to turn down the thermostat in order to save on bills, but should be sure the level is adequate to keep the inside temperature above freezing. If the thermostat is turned too far down, the pipes in the house could freeze and burst. Most recommendations say to turn the temperature down no lower than 55° F. If away for an extended period of time, it might be a good idea to shut off the water supply. Shutting off the water supply can also help prevent pipes from bursting inside the home.

2.) Stop mail/newspapers and consider timers for lights. Having the mail held (or sent to a different address) and putting lights on timers will prevent the residence from looking vacant. This could help to prevent a break-in/robbery. Another good option is having a neighbor collect the mail and keep an eye on the house.

3.) Lock all windows and doors. The last person to leave should secure the home. Additionally, valuables should be out of sight to deter a break-in.

4.) Unplug all appliances. If the electricity is left on, it is a good idea to unplug electric appliances to avoid the risk of fire.

5.) Clean the gutters. If gutters are full of debris, water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim.

6.) Make arrangements to have snow/ice cleared from sidewalks and driveways. East Lansing residents are responsible for clearing the snow/ice on the sidewalks adjacent to their property. If planning to be away, even for a short period of time, be sure to hire someone or arrange to have a friend or neighbor clear any snow/ice that accumulates. Learn more.

7.) Arrange an ELPD home check. The East Lansing Police Department (ELPD) makes courtesy home checks for residents that are concerned about the safety of their home while on vacation. ELPD officers will check the exterior of properties as time permits. Residents can call (517) 319-6897 to have their home placed on the watch list.