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Ask Arthur: Can I leave my electronics home alone?

A reader wants to know what to do about home electronics when going away on holiday. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK has a few suggestions.

Q: I’m going away on holiday for a month. There is no one to check on my electronics. Is it safe to leave them running, or switched off for a month?

Looking after your home electronics while you’re away for an extended period demands both prevention and protection. There are a few things you can do:

Unplug non-essentials: This not only saves you unnecessary power drains power draws, but can also avoid a potential fire hazard. Appliances like toasters, coffee makers, and TVs should be unplugged, but refrigerators should be plugged in. Unless you have devices that need Internet access, or you are monitoring your home remotely, unplug Internet access boxes and Wi-Fi routers as well. Computers, laptops and chargers should definitely be unplugged.  They can come to far more harm being plugged in without supervision than being unplugged for a month.

Surge protection: Between load shedding and an unstable electric grid, power surges are certainty, and they can fry electronics even when turned off. For any device or appliance that will remain plugged in, fit a high-quality surge protector.

Lights and timers: Set timers for lights to turn on and off randomly, to create the illusion of someone being home.

Security: If you’re going to be away for a while, a professionally monitored security system is essential, while you can also fit your own door and window sensors, motion detectors and security cameras, which can be monitored remotely and alert you to intrusion.

Insurance:  Make sure you have coverage for electronics in your policy. No matter how many precautions you take, things can still go wrong.

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