It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Whether you love winter or hate it, you can’t deny that the U.P. in December is truly a winter wonderland. Nature sure puts on a holiday show this time of year with snow-bedecked pine trees, spectacular waterfalls, and wildlife ranging from our beloved little chickadees to big moose.
Upper Peninsula homes, too, get into the holiday spirit this time of year. Twinkling lights both outside and in give clue to festivities waiting to happen.
But let’s not forget about safety during the holidays!
Before you relax with that glass of nog, use our handy December maintenance checklist for Upper Peninsula homes. It will help you gift everyone with a safe and pleasant holiday season this year!
Why Is Home Maintenance So Important at Holiday Time?
Upper Peninsula homes benefit from proper maintenance for three reasons:
- Aesthetics, and
- Long term savings
Of course, all these benefits are important all year round. But in December, it’s the first two that take the holiday cake.
A Well-Maintained Home is a Safe Home
Anytime you have people gathering to celebrate, the chances of an accident go up. This is especially true for the winter season. For instance, December and January are peak months for home fires according to the American Red Cross. Good home maintenance helps prevent hazardous conditions before they happen!
Proper Home Maintenance Makes It Easy to Look Good
Any home inspector can tell you: trying to dress up a run-down home with cosmetic effects is a bit like putting lipstick on a big moose.
Home inspections aside, you do want your home to look its best at holiday time. Keeping up with your home maintenance tasks on a regular basis gives you a great head start. Your basic cleaning and repairs will already be done by the time you’re getting ready to welcome guests. No more frantic rushing around – you can have your party and enjoy it, too!
Many Upper Peninsula homes were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Vintage homes especially benefit from regular maintenance. It’s hard to beat a well-maintained older home for holiday charm!
Upper Peninsula Homes December Maintenance Checklist
If you followed our home maintenance tips for October and November, you’ll be happy to know that most of the hard work of the season is behind you.
December home maintenance tasks fall neatly into two categories: cleaning and keeping up with the weather. Let’s look at the cleaning tasks first:
Spic & Span = Safe & Sound
Keeping your home clean doesn’t just feel good. It helps prevent accidents and supports your health as well. Here are our top recommended December cleaning tasks for Upper Peninsula homes:
Clean Your Range Hood Filter and Fan
Don’t think this is a priority? I dare you – just go take a peek at what’s hiding up there. Right above all that delicious holiday food you’re about to put on the table. Cleaning it up doesn’t take as long as you’d think. (Not sure how? This blog from Proline Rangehoods tells all.) You’ll literally breathe easier when you do!
Clean Your Oven
We all know the dangers of poor electrical systems. But were you aware that dirty ovens cause one in five house fires? Even if your oven doesn’t burst into flames, cooked-on crud on your oven walls creates unhealthy fumes and unpleasant odors. It can even ruin the taste of your holiday meal!
While self-cleaning ovens can be mighty convenient, be aware that they’re not always safe. If you choose to use the self-cleaning function, always follow manufacturer’s instructions to a “T”!
Change your HVAC Filter
It only takes a minute. And it will make a huge difference to your indoor air quality. It can even lower your heating bill. Just do it.
Wash Your Curtains
Really. When was the last time you thought to do this? Probably about a million cat hairs and countless coughs and sneezes ago. Chuck ‘em in the washer and get ‘em clean again for goodness’ sake!
Check for Mold in Bathrooms and Around Sinks
Winter is the dry season for Upper Peninsula homes. So you may not think mold would be an issue this time of year. But think again, especially if you have holiday guests. With more people using the bathroom and showers, and more time in the kitchen, humidity is going to rise in these places. Now’s the time to check for mold and stop it in its tracks.
Watch for Winter Weather Hazards
It’s just part of living in the U.P. Here’s what to keep an eye out for in December:
Keep Your Roof Clear
Don’t ask me how many roofs we’ve seen cave in because they couldn’t stand the stress of a heavy snow load. If your roof doesn’t shed snow easily, you can’t ignore this. Be prepared to shovel, rake, or sweep that snow off after each big snow storm. (And be careful with that shovel – it can really do a number on your roof!)
Watch for Ice Dams and Icicles
Built-up ice at the roofline may make your house look like a Hallmark Christmas scene. But it creates a real hazard to people and your home. Check out our blog about ice dams to learn what to look for and how to deal with it.
Check Your Water Pipes
Frozen water pipes are a common occurrence in Upper Peninsula homes. Frozen pipes can cause a ton of damage! Especially if this is your first winter in your home, be sure to check those pipes when the mercury dips low. Be sure to keep the air around them warm to prevent freezing. If you can’t do that, consider heat tape.
Run Water in Unused Pipes
Ever smell sewer gas when entering a bathroom? If you have little-used water fixtures in your home, the drain traps can dry up. This can allow sewer gasses to enter your home. Pee-yew! Even if your drain doesn’t dry, you can have problems. Stagnant water in the pipes creates perfect conditions for microbes to grow (including the infamous Legionella organism.)
Avoiding these problems is simple. Just go in there once a week or so and run water for a minute or two. Your guests will thank you!
Stay Safe at Home This Holiday – and Every Month of the Year
Did you find these December home maintenance tips helpful? Ask to join our email list. We send monthly reminders on important safety and maintenance tasks for Upper Peninsula homes every month of the year! (Just leave a comment below to ask to join our list.)