Don't give potential thieves insight into your shopping trips or purchases on social media. Photo By: anneh632 via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year; unfortunately, they can also be hazardous. According to a new report from Allstate, Illinois claims for sewer back-ups and theft spike this time of year.

Seasonal changes in routine—think hoards of holiday visitors and loads of presents displayed under the tree—can leave homeowners more susceptible to home perils.

“Breaking out of our routines and making the most of our time with family and friends is what the holidays are all about,” said Brian Cobb, Territory Sales Leader for Allstate in Illinois. “It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, so Allstate is reminding homeowners to use caution and remember to think through potential safety hazards in the home this holiday season.”

This season, keep home safety at the top of your holiday list by being mindful of the following hazards.

Playing the drain game.

If your place is the hosting house this season, it’s about to welcome more people than normal, and like they say, “more people, more plumbing problems.” Yep, sewer back-up in Illinois is 31 percent more likely during the holidays, according to the Allstate report.

House guests can mean plenty of quality time and catching up, but they can also mean clogged toilets and backed-up sinks. To combat issues with your commode and drains, be sure a plunger sits near the toilet (this is your first line of defense), and let your guests know what’s OK to put down the kitchen disposal. Shoving too many leftovers down the sink can easily result in a clog.

It also bears noting that you should never pour grease or turkey drippings down your sink drain—it’s a common holiday back-up offender. Instead, pour grease in a container, let it solidify, and throw it away. If a post-holiday sewer repair is in store, first call a local plumber, then look into the City of Chicago’s Private Drain Program to see if your project may allow the city to kick in for the bill (typically if repairs are required to your private sewer drain in the parkway and in the street).

Keep bandits at bay.

Compared to every other day of the year, the holidays mean more theft. According to the Allstate report, Illinois homeowner theft claims increase by five percent this time of year. And it makes sense, with all of the holiday hoopla—the Allstate report notes that 71 percent of people leave delivered packages outside their home, and more than half of people travel overnight during the holidays. This season, when shopping, store packages in the trunk, out of sight, and if you have stacks under the tree, close the shades when you’re out for the day, according to CAPS, the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy.

It’s also important not to advertise shopping trips or gift purchases on social media. Be wary of posting travel plans or “checking in” at places away from home—don’t give potential thieves insight into purchases hiding in your car’s trunk or your closet.

As you revel in time spent indoors with friends and family, remember these tips to help keep your home a safe haven this season.

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