Get Your Home Ready For Christmas
Prepare for a safe and trouble-free winter holiday with this home Christmas checklist.
Santa is making a list and he’s checking it twice! You should to. A trouble-free home Christmas checklist that is. Use this list to make sure your home is safe and ready for Santa’s arrival.
The home Christmas checklist-EXTERIOR:
- Power: Christmas lights can overload your system, trip breakers and cause trouble. Know where your electrical service panels are and how to reset breakers if they happen to trip. If they continue to trip, unplug the lights and call an electrician. Learn about extension cord safety before you start hanging your holiday lights. Have a backup generator ready in case your neighborhood loses power.
- Winterizing: Insulate exposed pipes, trim trees away from your structure and any above ground power and cable wires. Historically you may not have had any hard freezes in your area, but freak storms can happen and you should be prepared.
- Roof and gutter services: Clean any debris off the roof and out of the gutters. Make sure water can get off the roof and down to the ground quickly. Be sure the attic spaces above your living area are well-insulated and airtight. This helps to avoid ice-dams that can cause leaks, mold and expensive repairs.
- Furnace and water heater: Be sure to have the filters and the air handlers fully serviced and working. Vacuum out the floor registers and remove the lost toys from last Christmas. Ditto for servicing the hot water heater unless you enjoy a brisk cold shower on Christmas morning?
- Chimney checklist: Test log lighters, clean the flues and spark arrestors and operate the dampers. Only close the damper when the fire is completely out and cold. Be sure to keep the glass door screens closed. Oh, and don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace!
- Garage door opener: Have it serviced, lubricated and tighten all the nuts and bolts. The door should operate smoothly, quietly and reliably for Christmas. Learn about the red handled door escape release in case the power goes out.
- Weatherstripping: Check for air leaks around all the exterior doors and windows and fix them all. If you think Christmas gifts are expensive, bad weatherstripping can cost you even more over the course of the winter.
- Eave and foundation vents: Inspect and make sure all the screens are intact and undamaged. Also be sure any access hatches to the crawl area are tightly sealed. Let’s not have any uninvited rodent guests this holiday season.
The home Christmas checklist-INTERIOR:
- Smoke and CO detectors: With the house buttoned up tight for cold weather it is especially important these detectors are working properly. Replace the batteries and if you have older units replace them with the new 10-year models.
- Christmas Tree: Select a tree that fits sensibly in your space. Cut the base of the tree off evenly and mount it in a sturdy tree stand. Lay a heavy plastic sheet over your floor and place the tree stand in a large waterproof pan on the plastic sheet. Keep the base of the tree submerged in a water/feed mix. For the mix use one gallon hot tap water, mixed with 1 cup of light Karo syrup and 1 teaspo0n of Clorox bleach. Surround the base and the plastic sheet with an attractive and absorptive layer. This combination will save your floor from accidently spills and water damage.
- Dishwasher: Service the appliance and clean out the lower filter screens. Check the plumbing connections to be sure no leaks occur. Do not put dishes in unrinsed as this can clog the drain lines and cause a leak. Supervise when running the dishwasher to avoid overflows and leaks. These only happen when you aren’t looking.
- Disposer: Do not overload your disposer. Your kitchen plumbing is not designed for mass amounts of trash being forced down the drains through the disposer. Instead, place peelings and other food scraps in the trash to avoid an unwanted back-up and flood on Thanksgiving. Keep an eye out for leaks in the plumbing under the sink. Check these new disposers that illuminate the undersink areas.
- Oven: Clean the oven thoroughly before your big dinner, and check the temperature setting to be sure it is calibrated properly. Have two inexpensive meat thermometers available to double check for doneness. Avoid an over or under-cooked dinner.
- Cooktop: Be sure all the burners are clean and working. Clean up any spills immediately and do not allow build ups of material around the burners
- Hood/vent: Clean the hood and any filter screens thoroughly to ensure maximum air flow and efficiency. Keep a fully charged fire extinguisher readily at hand just in case.
- Fully service and clean out your refrigerators and freezers. These appliances need to be at their best for the big day, and you’ll want plenty of room for food and leftovers. If you run out of refer space, keep a large ice chest handy for the temporary storage of overflow.
- Sharpen your knives!
- Having a large get together? Consider renting tables, chairs, serving settings, linens and glasses for the day. The great news is the rental companies do all the washing up.
- Worried about your floors? Especially if the weather is bad, consider having guests remove their shoes at the door. Provide a rug to step in the door and a bench where guests can remove and store their shoes.
- Cookies and music: Oh and leave a good size plate of cookies for Santa as well as his favorite music.