A Holiday Checklist for HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing Issues
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is underway! Even if your plate is already chock-full with shopping, cooking, and decking the halls in preparation for visits from family and friends, it’s also appropriate to make time for some basic home maintenance.
Keeping your guests comfortable and safe is just as important as feeding them good quality food and providing clean sheets and towels. You surely don’t want to run the risk of any heating or plumbing breakdowns, electrical shorts, or gas leaks any time of the year, but especially not when the house is filled with people trying to take relax and celebrate.
When you have plumbing, electrical, or HVAC problems, those fun and peaceful holiday times quickly become filled with the stress of having to cope with these unforeseen incidents. There is also the aggravation of not being able to use your appliances as you had planned during the holidays. Not only can this put a damper on your holiday spirit, but it can also wreak havoc on your plans to entertain family, friends, or other guests in your home over the holidays.
Of course, you can always contact your friends at J&A South Park if you’re in need of maintenance or repairs during the “most wonderful time of the year.” Still, you can also take a few practical precautions to steer clear of an unanticipated disaster. Add these simple tasks to your to-do list and enjoy the holiday season with the people you love the most.
During holidays, everyone remains indulged in family activities, food, sports, gifts, etc. After all, holidays are a time of leisure and merriment with your loved ones and guests.
However, a deficient plumbing system can really be a trouble spot for your guests’ comfort. Above all, leaky showers, chocked kitchen sinks and clogged bathrooms are also embarrassing. So, why not perform some plumbing check-ups before the holiday season is upon you.
✓ Clear slow kitchen and bathroom sink drains.
Before your guests arrive, your kitchen and bathroom drains should be treated with either a mix of white vinegar and baking soda or a biological, enzyme-based drain cleaner. Do not apply chemical-based cleaners for any type of clog, as these products may be enormously beneficial short-term, but the damage they can trigger in the long-term offsets their usefulness.
✓ Clear bathtub and shower drains.
Run the shower head or bathtub faucet for a few minutes and pay special notice to how long it takes for each to drain. Slow drains in bathroom fixtures are nearly always triggered by a build-up of hair, soap, shampoo scum, and other by-products of our everyday cleansing habits. Avoid or eliminate clogs by removing the drain cover from your bathtub or shower and utilizing a straightened coat hanger for fishing out any noticeable debris.
✓ Clean your garbage disposal.
Give your garbage disposal a sound cleaning in advance of preparing your holiday meals. Pour one cup of white vinegar into your drain, allowing it to sit for ten to fifteen minutes before finally flushing with hot water for another minute or so.
Your garbage disposal may well be the most significant guest at your family meal. Feed it too much of the inappropriate thing, and there’s a good chance of making it sick. DO NOT put any kind of bones or rice or pasta or cooking grease into the disposal . . . or anything that seems clumpy or clog-worthy.
If anyone is helping you prepare your holiday meal, make sure they also understand not to put such troublesome things down the sink or into the garbage disposal.
✓ Don’t flush too much.
A clogged or leaky toilet is perhaps the nastiest circumstance that may leave your guests upset during their visit. To escape it being a nightmare, be sure its plumbing is in perfect shape.
Give all the toilets a flush check, particularly in any bathrooms booked for guests. Toilets that aren’t completely flushing should be checked for correct water supply, clogs, or leaks. Also, remember to place a garbage can in each bathroom for paper towels and other “un-flushable” items that can wreak havoc on your plumbing. It’s probably a good idea to also keep a plunger next to the toilet. This makes it easy and convenient to take care of minor glitches before they become bigger ones. Your plumbing system was intended to have only two items flushed through it – human waste and single-ply toilet paper!
That’s right; you’re not doing your plumbing system any favors by using “ultra-soft” toilet paper. True, your guests will welcome the softness of this superior tissue, but it’s far more apt to trigger a clog. We advise using a one-ply paper, as it’s easier to flush and can help sidestep the need for a plumbing service.
One more thing. Old medications should never be flushed down toilets.
✓ Strange noises from your plumbing?
Finally, if you hear odd noises coming from some part of your plumbing, it’s in your best interests to have these issues inspected prior to your guests’ arrival. For instance, got a puzzling hammering or drumbeat in your walls? It’s likely water hammer, an issue triggered by your water pressure being too high when you stop the flow of water through a faucet or toilet. This indicates you need a water pressure regulator on your mainline to avoid the prospect of pipe damage.
The holidays shout out that it’s time to plug in the lights, put up the decorations and be ready to party. But before you do that, it’s essential to be certain your electrical equipment is ready to face the season.
Installing the correct lights is a basic function of any holiday decorating. For one thing, you need to make use of lights that are explicitly intended for outdoor use. Beyond that, be certain you’re not using so many lights that it may well be hazardous. After all, you really don’t want to duplicate a Clark Griswold* scene. And always switch off your light display when you go to bed.
*Chevy Chase character in the movie Christmas Vacation
Speaking of lights, another critical slice of safe and sound holiday decorating is being sure your outlets aren’t overloaded. You need to use power strips and surge protectors, as required, but if you discover you’re using extension cord upon extension cord upon extension cord, without a doubt, something is amiss. Also, allow a small amount of space around your outlets, so you don’t produce a tripping hazard. And if you find your lights are flickering, you’re most likely exceeding your system’s capacity. This brings us to . . .
✓ Breakers and Panels
Very few times demand as much electricity as the holidays. From decorations to operating your heating equipment more, to guests coming in and out and making use of that equipment, now is the time to ensure your electrical panel is up to the task. If you find that you’re regularly tripping breakers, call your techs at J&A South Park to come take a look.
✓ Space heaters
Our main tip for space heaters? DON’T use them. They are notorious for triggering electrical fires, and the cords produce tripping hazards. They can also overheat quite easily if you don’t keep a close eye on them and, in most cases, the money they might save you in your heating bill is not worth the would-be hazards. If you still think you have to use a space heater, make certain that someone is constantly in the room while it’s being operated and, importantly, keep pets and children away all the time.
We have a habit of taking our heating system for granted, anticipating that it will keep us comfortable without any thought or effort on our part. Stay attentive about this all-important holiday home comfort by taking into account these holiday heating tips below.
✓ Learn how to use your programmable thermostat
It’s possible you already have a programmable thermostat on your wall. However, do you know how to use it properly to regulate your home’s temperature? If not, take a few minutes to learn how to program your temperature settings. Fix the temperature lower for when you’re sleeping or absent from home. Plus, set it to turn on an hour before you awake or come home from work.
✓ Use alternative heating sources
Did you know, for example, that you can use your ceiling fan to help circulate warm air confined near the ceiling downwards into the rest of the room? On your fan, find the switch located at the base and turn it, so the blades rotate the opposite way. When the weather warms up again in the spring, be sure to switch the blades back.
Another thing you can do is keep your blinds open to let in more natural light. If it’s also sunny, you’ll also naturally warm your house and take the pressure off your HVAC system, so it doesn’t have to work so hard.
✓ Keep flammables safe
If you opt to use your fireplace during the holidays, make certain to keep things such as blankets, toys or wrapping paper away from it to avoid fire hazards.
✓ Schedule a seasonal tune-up
Obviously, you want to be sure your system is functioning properly. You’ll be appreciative that you won’t have to be concerned about celebrating the holidays without ample heat in your home. Take an opportunity and call the experts at J&A South Park for inspection and tune-up for your system. They will identify any problem and fix it to prevent any issue from occurring.
Here’s a few other tips to help make your holidays safe and more enjoyable:
✓ Check carbon monoxide detectors
The holiday season is a prime time for carbon monoxide buildup so it’s essential to make certain your detectors are working as they should be. With your oven working to cook all your delicious holiday recipes and the water heater working overtime to keep up with the number of guests staying in your home, carbon monoxide may sneak its way into your home. An easy check of detectors could avert an evacuation for you and your guests.
✓ Replace old rugs
The last thing you want is to choke your guests with dreadfully smelling rungs. Right? What’s more, replacing an old rug with something new that lines up with the festive season in color and pattern is a wonderful way to make your space more relaxed and appealing to visitors and family. However, spending on new rugs isn’t always necessary if a local washing service company nearby will be all you need to return your rugs to good shape. The goal is simply to make sure your rugs are comfortable to the feet and smell nice all day.
When it comes to preparing your home for the holiday season, there are, of course, the basics: adding décor and lights, setting up the festive staple items, and perhaps even moving furniture around to accommodate guests.
But, as it feels every year, the months of November and December always go by so quickly. That’s why it’s best to think about what you can do – and early – to get on top of the holiday season and ready your home for family and guests.
Hopefully, some of the tips just mentioned will help you better prepare for the upcoming holidays.