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The Best Winter and Holiday Checklist

The Best Winter and Holiday Checklist

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Winter is coming, but…is your home ready? As you know, we’re HUGE fans of being prepared. We are a firm believer that it is never too early to prep, ESPECIALLY when it comes to your home and safety.

Winter is a time for family, friends, parties, gifts, and the occasional pipe freeze or faulty smoke detectors. You have to be ready for the good AND the bad.

It’s a lot to think about, so our specialists at Signature Home Services compiled the PERFECT Winter Check-Up Infographic for you this holiday season.

 We expect you’ll download the graphic, but we’re also including a summary here to give you a quick 101 of the types of things this checklist covers…

Exterior Checklist*:

*These items need to be checked off the list BEFORE the winter cold comes!

  1. Survey hose bibs (in other words, your outside spigots)
  • Remove ALL connections and drain all water
  • Install freeze-proof hose bibs
  • Install hose bib covers to protect and insulate (these are inexpensive and easy to find at hardware stores)
  1. Check all heater vent ducts for bird nests (It’s more common than most people imagine!)
  2. Clear roof debris
  • This is ESPECIALLY important for flat roofs! In the winter, twigs and other debris will freeze and only amplify potential damage from snow and freezing rain. This is how you best avoid a collapsed roof.
  1. Repair outside features
  • This includes wonky steps, lose handrails, etc.
  • Pay special attention to anywhere that involves foot traffic. Who will be joining you for the holidays? The absolute last thing ANYONE wants is a guest to fall because of a shaky rail!
  1. Treat yourself!
  • You’ve surveyed your home and made sure every detail is guarded against winter…and now, it’s time for a treat! Holiday decorations are a fun way to bring together the family and is guaranteed to provide you and your neighbors a season of smiles.
  • Some decorations can be more daunting than others, but a little-known fact is that there are professional services that can help! You can sit inside and drink your cocoa, and we’ll man the ladders and nail guns.

Interior Checklist**:

**These items will get you ready for the holidays on top of keeping your home safe.

 Check your pipes

  • Pipe anti-freeze heat strips are a LIFESAVER. Here’s a quick little science lesson…winter means colder temps, right? And naturally, when water in your pipes get too cold, they freeze! Freezing water expands, which could lead to pipes bursting. (There’s a reason calls to your local plumber skyrocket in the winter.) We want you to AVOID that by taking this easy step before the first freeze.
  • Take caution when applying strips by reading the directions CAREFULLY, or by calling in a professional. Some heating strips could damage the pipes more than help them.
  • Check your attic or crawl space piping for proper insulation as well.
  • Expert tip: if you believe your pipes have frozen, CALL A PLUMBER! Never attempt to defrost with an open flame. (Sadly, this has been attempted more than you would think.)
  1. Battery check
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  1. Reverse ceiling fans
  • Fun fact: you can reverse your ceiling fan motor (and should be doing it twice a year)! In the winter, you want your fans to rotate clockwise in order to create an updraft. This draws the hot air (which rises) down to you!
  1. Prepare your winter survival kit
  • This kit should be created with the idea in mind that it will only be used in emergencies and does not need constant care. Just an easy, once-a-year check-up to replace expired items or battery checks, and you’re set! Be sure to include:
    • Perishable food and gallons of water (quantity depending people in home)
    • A battery-operated radio
    • Extra batteries and chargers
    • A first aid kit and copies of medical prescriptions
    • Heating fuel
    • Extra warm clothes and blankets
    • Extra supplies for animals (i.e., food, water, medications, blankets)
  1. One of our favorites—set your holiday furniture staging!
  • Winter holidays and parties mean an influx of guests to your home
  • You’ll want to re-work your furniture arrangements to promote clear paths and easy flow for foot traffic.
  • De-clutter any pieces that won’t serve a purpose—less is more!
  • Stage your seating arrangements facing each other to promote conversation
  • For more tips on the perfect holiday staging check out our perfect holiday host tips!!
  1. Prepare spare rooms for guests
  • Make sure each room has proper lighting
  • At least one outlet should be easily accessible
  • Side tables are an added comfort for guests to place their personal items
  • De-clutter the space (we all tend to let the guest room turn into a storage closet)
  • Provide extra sheets, blankets and pillows
  • Keep extra towels and toiletries on-hand
  1. Optimize your fitness area
  • Make sure you can easily work off all those delicious extra calories about to be consumed this holiday season!!
  • A dedicated space ensures you won’t forgot to get moving
  • Purchase the right equipment for the best workout for you—no use buying a treadmill if running isn’t your thing!
  1. Set up a temporary gift-wrapping station
  • Having a space to wrap your presents is a LIFESAVER come the holidays and takes little to no time to set-up
  • Pick a space in your home that is slightly set back from the more heavily used rooms, like a craft room or garage. This will keep those presents hidden and won’t interrupt the functionality of your day-to-day activities.
  • Stock up on wrapping paper, bows, string, cards, tape and scissors

But wait!

 If you’re leaving town for the holidays instead, does this list apply to you? Of course!

Even though you won’t be there to witness the colder temps, your home still will! For you, it’s even MORE imperative that you perform a winter check-up before you’re out of town because you won’t be there in person if something goes wrong. So, without further ado, we’ve created a BONUS list for you…

Signature Home Services Out Of Town Winter Check-Up List:

  • Safety measures to take:
    • Set up timers for your lights (this will deter burglars and save energy)
    • Make sure smoke detectors are working
    • Install latch locks for screen doors
  • Exterior maintenance
    • Check all exterior conditions
    • Cover hose bibs
    • Install pipe anti-freeze heat strips
    • Install freeze-proof hose bibs
    • Checking heater vent ducts for bird nests
  •  
  • Interior maintenance
    • Put the water heater in “vacation” mode and schedule a water heater flush for when you’re back at home
    • Clean the refrigerator to prevent the smell from food going bad
    • Unplug electronics and flip off power strips to save power
    • Update your thermostat
      • Thermostat technology is constantly being updated. Today, you can control your home temperature while your away! Not only does this save you energy and money but provides peace of mind. And remember: leaving the heat off in your home while your away could lead to pipes bursting!

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5 COMMENTS

  • Leslie Carothers
    November 3, 2018, 12:11 pm REPLY

    This is such a helpful post! Thank you for putting it together along with your downloadable checklist.

    I’ve never even heard of a hose bib…and I didn’t know about being able to reverse my ceiling fan motor to create an updraft for the warm air.

    What a brilliant idea!

  • Sheri Bruneau
    November 3, 2018, 12:25 pm REPLY

    These are great tips. Thanks!

  • Jana
    November 3, 2018, 1:28 pm REPLY

    Great check list! It’s true about birds nests. I’ve had to clean out a birds nest several times from a vent.

  • Janet
    November 3, 2018, 3:41 pm REPLY

    This is a GREAT winter checklist! Thanks – I always forget about the ceiling fan reverse switch!

  • Wendy
    November 4, 2018, 2:09 pm REPLY

    What a great list of things to remember! Thanks

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