How to Monitor a Home When Away

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Whether away for business or pleasure, homeowners like the security of knowing that their home is safe when they are absent. Depending on the length of time away from the home, homes can become residences for squatters, targets for burglars, or just trashed and used by a nanny, babysitter or someone else with access or a key. In order to avoid scary surprises upon re-entry to the home, there are many things that a homeowner can do to monitor the home while they are away.

Things You'll Need

  • Video camera
  • Computer
  • Firewire cable
  • Figure out how long you are going to be away from home. If it is just a weekend, you may not need or want to take all of the measures available to you to monitor your home.

  • Call your home monitoring service or alarm service if you have one, let them know that you will be away and give them the exact dates of your departure. This way, if the alarm is tripped they will know to send the police to your house right away instead of trying to contact you.

  • Ask your neighbors to check your home every morning or whenever is convenient for them; if you are going away for a long time, it is more reasonable to ask them to go once or twice a week as opposed to every day. If you have an alarm system and you are asking your neighbors to check on your home, either give your neighbors the code so when they enter they can turn the alarm off and reset it, or set the alarm on a timer that goes from a specific time to a specific time. Let your neighbor know that time frame so they know what hours it is safe to check on your home.

  • Buy or set up your video camera, on a table pointing at the entryway to your house. Make sure that it is in a place where the power cord can be plugged in so that the battery power will never die. Turn the camera on and connect it to your computer with a firewire cable. Then go to a website that allows you to stream for free; one good example is ustream.tv. This is a great option if you will have Internet access while you are away or if you have friends you can ask to watch the stream from time to time. When you set up your camera this way you basically create a live channel of your house, and you can monitor to the second what is going on at your front door.

  • Call the local police station and ask if someone can drive by your house a couple of times while you are away. This option may not be available to people who live in big cities, but most smaller towns are willing to assist you in this way.

Tips & Warnings

  • You will need to download software from the website monitoring service you use. Make sure that it is streaming properly before you leave.

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