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Norwalk Daily Voice serves Norwalk & Rowayton

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Protect Your Home While You're Away

How safe is your home while you're away on vacation? On its website , the venerable PBS show This Old House lists disasters that can befall your home when you're not there.

• Lightning from a summer storm could start a fire. Who's going to call 911? Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house while you're away. Have a professional install a lightning rod. Be sure to ground weather vanes and satellite dishes so that if they're struck by lightning the electrical charge will be discharged into the ground and not into your house.

• Uncut grass, piles of newspapers in your driveway, stuffed mailboxes and posts on Facebook can alert thieves that your house is empty. Cancel newspaper subscriptions, ask the Post Office to hold your mail and don't discuss travel plans on the Internet.

• Summer humidity can quickly turn your house into a breeding ground for spores. Set your air conditioning at 77 degrees to keep the house dry while you're away. If you don't have air conditioning, ask a neighbor to open the windows for a few hours while you're gone. If your basement is prone to flooding, install an automatic sump pump.

• Storms can bring trees crashing down on your house. Hire a certified arborist to evaluate any large trees near your home.

• Check your washing machine hoses for bulges that could burst and flood your house. Aging water heaters can also leak and cause flooding.

Have you had a home disaster while you were on vacation? Want to tell us what happened? Leave a note below.

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