Holiday Home Projects
Install Home Electronics
If a new flat panel television, home theatre system, or other electronic devices are bound for your household this gift-giving season, consider seeking installation quotes from a trained professional. Proper installation can maximize your enjoyment of new electronics for a fraction of their purchase price, and the stress of following a multi-page instruction manual may bring out the Scrooge in many DIYers.
Plan for Holiday Lights
Christmas lights begin to appear on homes across America every year almost immediately following (and sometimes before!) Thanksgiving. If you plan to decorate your home yourself, develop a plan and start looking for deals on lights and other outdoor holiday paraphernalia early. If you're planning on hiring assistance, make sure you contact a professional for quotes as soon as possible. Either way, allow time to make arrangements and install lights as early as you can in order to maximize the number of days you'll have to enjoy them.
Hire Cleaning Help
If you're like most people, the final months of the year are long on to-do items and short on time. Hiring a cleaning professional will allow you to focus on more important tasks and keep your home looking its best for holiday visitors. Whether you schedule a one-time visit or routine cleanings, the stress and effort you'll save are likely well-worth the monetary investment.
Fix Major Home Appliances
From turkey dinners to Christmas cookies, the holiday season is a busy time for most kitchens. Clothes washers and dryers often pull an extra shift or two during the holidays, as well. If your appliances aren't working, or aren't working as well as they should, call an appliance repair professional before the holidays arrive. A trained professional often can diagnose and repair a problem in a major appliance for far less than the cost of replacement.
Be Prepared for Snow Removal
Keeping your walks free of ice and snow is a vital part of wintertime safety, but venturing outside with a snow shovel in the dead of winter is an unpleasant task for most. Snow removal services are usually equipped with professional gear to make quick work of a homeowner's hand-shoveled job.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats save money without sacrificing comfort by using less energy on heating and cooling while you're away from home, asleep, or at any other specific times you select. More accurate and convenient to use than manual thermostats, programmable thermostats don't contain toxic mercury found in traditional models. Hiring a pro for this project is generally inexpensive, but this project is within the abilities of most DIYers.
Proper inspection of a fireplace is vital to ensuring its safe operation -- even if it is rarely used. An experienced chimney sweep will check wood fireplaces for flammable buildup (known as creosote) and chimney blockages like bird nests. A chimney or fireplace professional also should check for these red flags: improperly functioning dampers, damaged brickwork and masonry, and missing or damaged flue caps (the screen covering the top of the chimney).
Install a Home Security System or Alarm
If you're looking for peace of mind this holiday season, consider enlisting the help of a home security company. A home security system will help protect against intruders and many systems also can monitor for signs of fire. Security companies will often install basic systems free of charge, provided you sign a monitoring contract.
Tune Up Furnace
In winter the furnace is literally the heart of most American homes. Without it, comfortable life indoors would come to a grinding halt. Occasional maintenance from a trained professional can keep your furnace running effectively and efficiently and prevent potentially catastrophic damage to your home from burst or frozen pipes.
Whether your region brings ice and snow or clouds and rain during winter, chances are your outdoor living space will spend a good portion of the season out of commission. If your time indoors leaves you feeling a little crowded, look to your basement for room to roam. Finishing a basement offers a great way to extend your living space and also gives a higher return on investment than many other home projects. Whether you're planning on selling your home come spring or you just need more space to live, consider finishing your basement.
Seal Gaps & Add Insulation
Nothing makes a home more uncomfortable during the winter than a nagging, chilly draft. Consider a home energy audit that includes a review of your home's caulking and weather stripping. Energy auditors also will likely look inside your attic. If the insulation is at or below the level of the joists, you may be able to keep your home warmer by adding more. A depth of 10 to 14 inches is generally considered optimal, and you can supplement with a variety of different types of insulation to achieve that depth.
Plan Ahead with an Architect or Engineer
If you've been dreaming of a new home or a home improvement project such as an addition or major landscaping, fall is an excellent time to reach out to architects or engineers to draft plans. This will allow time to revise the plans without having to rush the contactor bidding process to start work when the ground thaws. Plus, you'll have one more reason to look forward to spring!