11 Home Maintenance Tasks and Repairs to Complete Before Holiday Guests Arrive

by Team HomeServe
A man measures the frame of a window for the purpose of installing plastic film insulation over the window

Pre-Guest Maintenance and Repairs at a Glance

  • Clean and maintain appliances
  • Pump septic tank
  • Childproof
  • Clean fireplace
  • Remove ice and snow
  • Repair sticking doors and windows
  • Fix plumbing issues
  • Fix garbage disposal
  • Deal with drafts
  • Repair walkways
  • Update security system

If you're hosting guests for the holidays, it's important to ensure that your home is safe and comfortable before they arrive. Home repairs and maintenance may not be the most festive of tasks, but they're an essential part of getting ready for the holidays.

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Before trimming the tree or wrapping the gifts, follow the tips below to get your house ready for a crowd.

What Maintenance Tasks Should I Complete Before Guests Arrive?

pumping septic tanks from the backyard tank in the countryside

A well-maintained home provides a clean and welcoming environment for holiday guests. Even more importantly, getting on top of essential home maintenance can help prevent emergencies while you've got a house full of friends and family.

Here are the essential maintenance tasks for your to-do list when you're getting your house ready for the holidays:

1. Clean and Maintain Essential Appliances

Most people rely on appliances like their dishwashers and ovens to keep their day-to-day lives running smoothly, but they're particularly essential when you have a house full of guests. A sudden appliance breakdown is never convenient, but it's even worse during the holidays when you need to cook or do laundry for a crowd.

Therefore, it's sensible to clean all your essential appliances before your guests descend on you. Inspect them thoroughly for any issues. If you notice problems, don't wait until after the celebrations to resolve them. Small issues can suddenly turn into big ones at the most inopportune moments.

2. Pump Your Septic Tank

If you have a septic tank and haven't pumped it out in a while, it's worth considering having it done when you're getting ready for the holidays. More people using your toilet and plumbing fixtures means that wastewater gets less opportunity to settle inside the tank, potentially leading to a stinky emergency that could halt your celebrations.

As a rule, you should have your septic tank pumped every 3 to 5 years. It's also important to remind your guests not to flush anything apart from human waste and toilet tissue down the toilet, especially if they're not used to using a plumbing system with a septic tank.

3. Childproof Your Home

If your guests include children or pets, it's important to deal with any potential hazards before they arrive. For older kids, this can be as simple as putting away any sharp knives, chemicals or other potentially dangerous items and ensuring that the doors and windows lock securely.

If you're hosting very small children, consider covering any sharp furniture corners, hiding anything small enough to choke on and installing dummy plugs in unused electrical outlets to keep little fingers out. It's also worth checking that your Christmas tree is set up safely.

4. Clean Out Your Fireplace

There's nothing quite as cozy as a roaring fire during the holiday season, but it's important to ensure that your system is safe. If you plan to light a fire while your guests visit, clean the stove or fireplace grate thoroughly. Have your chimney swept to prevent chimney fires or a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide. Installing a fireguard can make your fireplace safer, especially if you're hosting children.

5. Remove Ice and Snow

Ensuring a safe pathway to your home is essential for keeping your holiday guests safe. Furthermore, a large amount of snow built up on your roof could cause it to buckle, which would be disastrous for your celebrations.

Therefore, it's wise to schedule snow removal services before your guests arrive if you're expecting heavy snowfall. Although you can shovel snow yourself, it's dangerous to remove snow from a roof unless you have the correct training and equipment. Hiring a professional snow removal company can save you considerable time and inconvenience and free you up for more enjoyable holiday tasks.

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What Repairs Should I Make Before I Have Guests?

garbage disposal unit under kitchen sink

Carrying out home repairs is an essential part of getting ready for the holiday season. Repairing your home helps keep your guests safe and your property secure. Don't forget to add these repairs to your guest prep checklist:

1. Repair Sticking or Insecure Doors and Windows

A door or window that doesn't shut properly is both annoying and a potential safety hazard. Fixing misaligned deadbolts, strike plates and replacing faulty locks helps your guests feel more secure and maintains their privacy.

2. Fix Irksome Plumbing Issues

If you've been tolerating a dripping faucet or low water pressure, get the problem fixed while you're getting ready for the holidays. Even if you're used to living with dodgy plumbing, clanking, dripping or sluggish water flow all have the potential to irritate your guests.

Furthermore, what might seem like a small plumbing issue could actually be a sign of a more serious problem brewing. The holiday season is the worst time for a plumbing emergency, especially when you're hosting. If you can't easily see and fix the source of the problem yourself, consider calling a plumber to inspect your system and get everything back to perfect working order.

3. Repair a Broken Garbage Disposal Unit

If you're feeding a crowd, chances are that your garbage disposal will have more to contend with than usual. A fully functioning garbage disposal can make catering for guests far more convenient. If yours is broken or not working as well as it used to, make time to fix it before your guests arrive to avoid an inconvenient mid-party breakdown.

4. Deal With Drafts

You'll want to create a warm, cozy atmosphere for your guests over the holidays, so dealing with drafts should be a top priority. Insulating drafty door and window frames won't just keep your home toasty; it can also save you a significant amount on your heating bills. According to Energy Star, you can shave around 15% off your heating and cooling costs if you also insulate your roof and other cavities in your home.

5. Repair Broken Floors and Walkways

You may know to step over a broken slab on your driveway instinctively, but it could pose a trip hazard to unsuspecting guests. Therefore, protecting your guests by repairing any broken floors and exterior walkways is a must. Pristine floors are also easier to keep clean and will look much more attractive in your holiday pictures.

6. Protect Your Home Against Burglars

Unfortunately, the holiday season is prime time for home burglaries, so says CNN. However, there are some simple steps you can take to make your home less attractive to would-be thieves. Installing motion sensor floodlights around your property and investing in a decent home security system can make burglary less likely, so it's worth considering upping your security when you're getting ready for the holidays.