This holiday season, enjoy your vacation without the worry of your home’s security and well-being. Don’t let a preventable accident abruptly cut your trip short. Thoroughly prepare for your time away from home and create a plan for the maintenance of utilities, perishable food, security and pets.

Here are some of the essential measures to take before you go out of town:

Manage Utility Usage

Don’t rack up electric and gas charges while you’re away from your home. Make sure you turn off your hot water heater before you leave, as that will help you save on utility costs. Turn off your water main if you live in a colder climate where snow and freezing temperatures are common. If water remains in your pipes, it may freeze and cause major damage to your plumbing.

Invest in a temperature control system that will monitor the thermostat or fireplace within your home. The Sensi is a Wi-Fi thermostat that is controlled through a smartphone app, so you can have control over the temperature in your house from anywhere. This device will help you leave without worrying about how you’ve set the thermostat or completely re-setting its schedule. You can reheat your house with the Sensi thermostat when you’re on your way home, so it’s warm and ready for your arrival.

Clean the Fridge

If you don’t sufficiently clean out your fridge, you’ll return to a foul smell in your home from expired fridge contents. The week before you leave, limit the amount of perishable food that you purchase and only buy what your family will eat prior to your trip. The day before you leave, remove all perishable items, such as dairy products, fruits, cheese, meat and bread. Avoid disposal of these items, as it is very wasteful, and instead give these items to a neighbor, relative, friend, or your house sitter. After your fridge is rid of perishables, change the temperature to 38 degrees Fahrenheit for energy conservation.

Set the Security System

Ensure the safety of your house through certain security measures and systems. Create a timer for lamps throughout the house, which will turn them on and off, while you’re away. This will make it seem like there are people present in the house and deter burglars from a break-in attempt.

Keep an eye on what goes on at your home with a security camera system. Lorex security cameras can mount to a flat surface and monitor your home and property while you’re away. They are weather-resistant and can record video around-the-clock with excellent night vision capabilities. You can remotely connect with your surveillance system from your phone, which enables you to view and record video from anywhere in the world.

Arrange House Sitter

Find a house sitter who can visit or stay in your home for a few weeks before you leave. If can’t enlist a family member or friend for the job, utilize professional house sitters. House Sitters of America is a free online service for homeowners that will connect you with a sitter that is right for your situation. Your house sitter will ensure that your plants, pets and home are well maintained while you’re away. Read reviews of the interested applicants to help narrow your list to find the most reliable and responsible candidates.