Full House for the Holidays? Maintenance Tasks to Do Before Your Guests Arrive

by Candice McCulley
smoke detector

Do you struggle with what to do when it comes to home-maintenance tasks to finish before your houseguests start arriving for the holidays? Having family and friends over to celebrate the season is work, but it shouldn't be overwhelming — so we've made a list (and checked it twice) of home-maintenance tips to help you sleigh the dragon of holiday household disasters before they happen.

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Of course you want your home to be in tiptop shape when your guests start arriving. Here's a checklist of things to do before the doorbell rings:

  • Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
  • Change your household air filter.
  • Clear snow and ice from walking and driving paths.
  • Check the refrigerator water filter.
  • Clean ash and debris out the fireplace.
  • Have the chimney swept.
  • Make sure toilets flush properly, shower heads are spraying adequately and your water heater is doing its job.
  • Ensure commonly used appliances (dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, oven, coffee pot, refrigerator, etc.), as well as light bulbs in all rooms, are in working order.
  • Clean your ceiling fans.
  • Clean your baseboards.

By working your way down this checklist a month in advance, you'll be able to rest easy (or at least easier) when festivities commence, knowing you've prepared your home for all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

carbon monoxide alarm

Consider Hiring a Professional for Holiday Help

Hiring a professional to help out during the holidays can be an early present to yourself. Some of your household issues are going to be out of your hands and will require expert assistance. You can hire a professional for just about any of the jobs mentioned above.

Besides fixing appliances, plumbing and other major household fixes, you can even call upon pros to decorate your home, put up your Christmas tree and make everything look lovely. An expert can also help you remove any clutter you want to get rid of or give the house a good deep cleaning. Work smarter not harder, as the saying goes — and delegating tasks is a smart move.

Clear Snow From Your Driveway, Sidewalks

If you live in a cold, snowy climate: This means you! Snow and ice can be a hazard when you have a lot of foot traffic if you've neglected to take proper precautions. No one wants to spend the holidays at the hospital because one of their guests slipped on an icy patch and took a bad fall. Make sure that you or a hired hand keeps your driveway and walkways clear of the white stuff.

man's boots on frozen concrete steps

Frozen Pipes Can be a Big Problem

Ever gone to wash your hands and realized there's is no water coming out of the faucet. Think of the issues that could snowball when you have all those extra bodies to keep clean during the holidays. Here are some ways you can prevent a cleanliness crisis due to a frozen waterline:

  • Let your faucets drip at night
  • Get quality insulation and wrap your pipes
  • Keep the house adequately heated
  • Open bathroom and kitchen cabinets to let the warm air hit the pipes
  • Keep your garage door closed

If your pipes do happen to freeze, you can try to thaw them by first locating the frozen area, then applying some type of heat source such as a blow dryer; even warm towels could do the job. Keep the faucet on as you do this because any water running through, even if it's cold, can help melt the ice. Do not use any kind of open flame to thaw the pipe, however, as high heat can damage the pipes (among other dangers of an open flame). If you're not able to pinpoint the exact location, call a licensed plumber and they will be able to help.

A Chimney Sweep? Really?

This may be the last thing on your mind while prepping for holidays, but if you haven't had a chimney sweep in a year or longer, you'll want to have that done. Having you chimney swept will determine if you need a full chimney cleaning. If you use your fireplace annually during the cold months, creosote has been building up inside your chimney. Over time, if buildup isn't cleaned out, it could cause a fire. You do not want a fire that's not contained to your yule log when you have a houseful of guests.

Other Ways to Prepare for the Holidays

Here are some other suggestions for getting ahead of the game and reducing stress when you're expecting a full house:

  • Clean your house from top to bottom.
  • Clear out the guest closet space.
  • Cook what you can in advance.
  • Stock your pantry ahead of time.
  • Load up your bathrooms with plenty toiletries, washcloths, hand towels and, most importantly, toilet paper.
  • Declutter your home, especially the guest bedrooms if you have overnight company.
  • Anything you can do to spruce up your curb appeal is a bonus.
  • Decorate to your heart's desire with festive flourishes.

Since we're all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you the peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.