While you're running around thinking of all the million things you have to do in preparation for the holidays, I'm going to add yet another item to your plate. (Eek! Sorry) Don't neglect your biggest investment - your house!
A few things to think about before hosting friends and family over the holidays.
- Heat - Nothing can ruin the holidays more for you and your guests than a freezing cold house. This is a good time to schedule a furnace tune/check-up. Something you should plan to do every year or two anyway to make sure everything is working smoothly.
- Fireplace - Speaking of heat, nothing feels more festive than cozying up with some cocoa to a fire in the fireplace. If you haven't had your chimney serviced in awhile, especially if you use it often, now would be a great time to get a chimney sweep in there to remove built up creosote, which can be dangerous and leads to house fires.
- Security - Whether you're hosting guests or going away for the holidays, installing a security system and/or cameras is a great idea. Everyone sees the news reports about package theft during the holidays, so maybe look into a camera for the door, like a Ring Doorbell. You might also consider a full house security system to keep your home and belongings safe, unless you plan on leaving some Home Alone style booby traps while you're gone.
- Prevent drafts - if you didn't get around to it this fall, do a walk around your home and seal up any cracks that could be letting your heat out, or sending cold drafts through your home. Weather stripping windows and doors and caulking cracks is an inexpensive way to button up your home and increase your heating system's efficiency.
- Deter and get rid of critters - its not a great feeling when you're about to fall asleep and you hear scratching and scampering feet in the ceiling above your bed. All sorts of animals are going to want to join the festivities, at least move in to keep warm. If they've already moved in, lay out traps, or call a pro to come take them away. If you haven't hear the scampering sounds, do a quick check of your attic and crawlspace vents and install wire mesh to keep them out. If your area is prone to mice and raccoons, consider a sonic device. They emit high frequency sounds that scare rodents away, but are not harmful to you or your pets.