Planning a vacation away or holiday at home over the Christmas and New Year break? Here are a few great tips to help you keep your home and family safe this summer.

Protect Your Empty Nest

Planning a trip to the bach for a long weekend, or a jaunt overseas before the kids go back to school? If you’re leaving your home empty for an extended period, it pays to take precautions. 

Not only can a few basic preventative measures work wonders to keep your home safe from power surges and electrical fires – they can also deter criminals who would otherwise be tempted by an empty-looking home.

  1. Unplug any appliances or gadgets that won’t be in use while you’re gone. Not only will this reduce power wastage, but it will also reduce the risk of something going awry while the house is empty.
  2. Don’t be tempted to leave your lights on while you’re away to give the illusion of someone being home. Lights left on uncharacteristically all night can be just as telling as a dark home – and you also run the risk of lightbulbs overheating. Instead, invest in an affordable switch or outlet timer or remote control (via smartphone), which can be used to have your lights turn on and off or create the noise and flickering lights of an average family home at night. 
  3. Speaking of lights – motion sensor outdoor lighting is a great security investment! Bright lights are your first line of defence against intruders, and studies show criminals prefer to target homes with dark exteriors to those that are well lit. 
  4. Install a security alarm, or a home monitoring device that allows you to keep an eye on your property remotely via your smartphone. 


Stay Safe Overseas

If you’re travelling overseas this summer, it’s important to remember that electrical safety standards can vary greatly around the globe. Accommodations and tourist hot spots overseas may not adhere to the same standards as you’re used to in New Zealand, and the voltage from outlets can vary between countries.

  1. Wherever you go, be aware of outdoor wiring and overhead cables. Destinations such as Thailand – notorious for jumbled overhead wires and people illegally tapping into the grid – can prove exceptionally dangerous for tourists unaware of the hazards. Do some research on potential issues to be on the lookout for, and stay electrical-aware while exploring.
  2. If you’re visiting a country with different power points than New Zealand, beware of cheap converter plugs. Not all adapters are created equal, so purchase from reputable suppliers, take care when using them, and never leave them plugged in unattended.
  3. Did you know that the voltage coming out of the wall can vary from country to country? It’s important to consider this when travelling, because plugging a device designed for use in New Zealand into a foreign outlet – with a different current – can result in overloading, surges and potential electrical fires. Most adaptor plugs are designed to convert current, but always double check before use.


Stay Safe at Home 

Staying home over the summer break? You may be looking forward to a house crowded with extended family for the holidays – or ticking a few of those odd jobs off your To Do list! 

  1. Expecting a full house when the family comes to visit? All of those extra guests are sure to result in a spike in electricity usage – just ensure everyone is using power responsibly. Avoid running additional multi-plugs and extension cords to try and accommodate everyone, and – if small children are coming to stay – plug any unused outlets with safety covers.
  2. Planning on refreshing your outdoor area or garden? Think before you dig or get up on a ladder! Power lines and electrical cables can be a significant hazard for DIYers, so keep your eyes out for overhead threats and research your underground services when in doubt.
  3. This time of year the days and nights can be HOT – so you and your family will probably be looking for fun and relaxing ways to cool down over the break! Always remember – water and electricity don’t mix, so keep any electronics far away from sprinklers and pools, and take extra care with portable devices that use a water vessel to cool the air around them.

Stay safe and have a fantastic Christmas, New Year and summer break, everyone!