Holiday Home Survival Guide

Holiday Home Survival Guide


American Society of Home Inspectors’ Top 10 Tips

 for Busy Homeowners

Surviving the holidays is hard enough without having to think about how to care for your home.  For a busy homeowner, remembering to clean out the gutters and downspouts may be at the end of the weekend “to-do” list, however, it’s the first line of defense against the harsh winter weather.  To help put home care into perspective during the holidays, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) created a top 10 list to give busy homeowners a snapshot of the items they can address today to ensure the safety of their home and family tomorrow.

“Homes are the centers of activity during the holidays,” said Frank Lesh, 2007 ASHI president.  “You can’t take them for granted or take unnecessary risks — even if you want your house to be the brightest, most festive on the street.  By following these simple tips you can help protect your home against the rigors of winter and the pitfalls of the season.”

Top 10 Holiday Survival Tips

According to the American Institute of Stress, 54 percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives.  To help reduce holiday stress for busy homeowners, ASHI compiled the following tips for holiday home survival: 

Water Sources

  1. Clean your gutters and downspouts – Gutters and downspouts play an important role in diverting water away from foundation walls.  Clean them before the winter weather sets in to keep your basement dry and leak free.
  2. Drain exterior water lines – Prevent frozen pipes by removing, draining and storing outdoor hoses.  Open the outside faucets to allow water to drain and leave them open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  3. Treat your garbage disposal to a hot water bath – Cooking for large family gatherings or holiday parties can put extra stress on everyday appliances such as garbage disposals.  Prevent plumbing problems and costly repairs by flushing the garbage disposal with one pot of hot water and a half cup of baking soda before and after the holidays.

 

Fire, Ventilation and Heat

  1. Inspect your home heating systems – Nearly half (44%) of all home heating fires occur in December.  Remember to schedule a professional inspection of your home’s heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces and water heaters before winter weather sets in.  In addition, stock up on furnace filters and change them regularly.  If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly.  When water appears, close them.
  2. Recaulk and weather-strip your doors and windows – According to the Department of Energy, the cost to heat an average home is approximately $1,400 annually.  Save money and energy by checking caulking for decay around doors, windows, corner boards and joints.  Recaulk and add weather-stripping as needed.
  3. Trim back tree limbs – Carbon monoxide poisoning is most common during winter months, particularly because of increased use of fireplaces and furnaces.  Protect your family by identifying overgrown tree limbs hanging over the chimney or flue, as blockages could affect the draft and create higher carbon monoxide levels within a home.  Homeowners should also consider installing a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.  Batteries should be replaced in the spring and fall.
  4. Keep a fire extinguisher handy – Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States.  Make sure to place your fire extinguishers away from potential fire sources.  If you’re cooking in the kitchen, for instance, place the fire extinguisher away from the stove to ensure that you can reach the extinguisher in the event of an emergency.

Electrical

  1. Test your electrical circuit shut-off switch – Plug outdoor decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).  Ensure that the circuit shuts-off properly by using a nightlight or radio.  Click the circuit button.  If it clicks and the nightlight or radio stays on, the circuit has not shut off.  Consider contacting an ASHI Certified Inspector to evaluate the problem.
  2. Practice ladder safety – Falls account for an average of 5.1 million injuries and nearly 6,000 deaths a year.  Before you hang the Christmas lights, wrap pipe insulation around your ladder beams (the vertical members that the rungs are attached to).  The insulation will help prevent the ladder from slipping and provide insulation against electrical shock.
  3. Use extension cords sparingly – Remember to avoid using extension cords when possible.  If you use them, do not run them across hallways or doorways, under carpeting or furniture or through walls.  Never staple them in place.

Note: ASHI encourages homeowners who are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable performing any of the tasks listed above to hire a professional. 

Source: American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

Located in Methuen, MA and Dover, NH, RJ Inspections, Inc. provides full-service home inspection services for first home buyers and other home buyers, those selling a house, and real estate inspection for realtors, brokers, and contractors in Massachusetts: Greater Boston, Boston North, Boston South, Boston West, Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop, Revere, Amesbury, Andover, Beverly, Boxford, Bradford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Gloucester, Groveland, Hamilton, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Nahant, Newbury, Newburyport, North Andover, Peabody, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Wenham, West Newbury, Acton, Arlington, Ashby, Ashland, Ayer, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Cambridge, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Everett, Framingham, Groton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Newton, North Reading, Pepperell, Reading, Sherborn, Shirley, Somerville, Stow, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsboro, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Westford, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn, Ashburnham, Athol, Auburn, Barre, Berlin, Blackstone, Bolton, Boylston, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Fitchburg, Gardner, Grafton, Hardwick, Harvard, Holden, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leicester, Leominster, Lunenburg, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Templeton, Upton, Uxbridge, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough, Westminster, Winchendon, Worcester, Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Wellfleet, Yarmouth, Avon, Bellingham, Braintree, Brookline, Canton, Cohasset, Dedham, Dover, Foxboro, Franklin, Holbrook, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Milton, Needham, Norfolk, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Wellesley, Westwood, Weymouth, Wrentham, Agawam, Blandford, Brimfield, Chester, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Granville, Hampden, Holland, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Ludlow, Monson, Montgomery, Palmer, Russell, Southwick, Springfield, Tolland, Wales, West Springfield, Westfield, Wilbraham, Abington, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Hull, Kingston Lakeville, Marion, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rochester, Rockland, Scituate, Wareham, West Bridgewater, Whitman, Amherst, Attleboro, Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Easton, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Mansfield, New Bedford, North Attleboro, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Westport, Arlington Park, Atkinson, Atkinson Heights, Atlantic, Atlantic Heights, Auburn, Austin Corners, Baglett Grove, Bayside, Bean Island, Bersum Gardens, Breakfast Hill, Brentwood, Brentwood Corners, Brick School Corner, Cable Road, Camp Gundalow, Camp Hedding, Candia, Candia Four Corners, Canobie Lake, Cemetery Corners, Chases Grove, Chester, Christian Shore, Clark Hill, Cluffs Crossing, Coffins Mill, Collettes Grove, Conleys Grove, Cowbell Corners, Creek Area, Danville, Deerfield, Deerfield Parade, Derry, Derry Village, Dows Corner, East Candia, East Derry, East Hampstead, East Kingston, Eastman Corners, Eastman Point, Elmwood Corners, Elwyn Park, Epping, Exeter, Fairhill Manor, Five Corners, Fogg Corner, Fogg Corners, Foster Corners, Four Corners, Foyes Corner, Fremont, Fremont Station, Gooch Corner, Gosport, Great Boars Head, Greenland, Greenland Station, Hampshire Road, Hampstead, Hampton, Hampton Beach, Hampton Falls, Hampton Landing, Haynes Corner, Howards Grove, Hubbard, Jady Hill, Kensington, Kingston, Lamprey Corners, Langs Corner, Leavitts Hill, Little Boars Head, Littlefield, Londonderry, Lyford Crossing, Marshall Corner, Meadowbrook, Melrose Beach, Monahan Corners, Nason Corners, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newington Station, Newmarket, Newton, Newton Junction, North Beach, North Chester, North Danville, North Epping, North Hampton, North Hampton Center, North Londonderry, North Nottingham, North Salem, Northwood, Northwood Center, Northwood Ridge, Nottingham, Nottingham Square, Noyes Terrace, Onway Lake, Pannaway Manor, Parkman Corner, Peppermint Corner, Perkins Hill, Pine Grove Park, Piscataqua, Plaice Cove, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Portsmouth Plains, Powwow River, Prescott Corner, Raymond, Riverside, Rockingham, Rowes Corner, Rye, Rye Beach, Rye North Beach, Salem, Salem Depot, Sanborn Corners, Sandown, Sargent Corners, Seabrook, Seabrook Beach, Seabrook Station, Severance, Shaws Hill, Smith Colony, Smith Corner, Smithtown, South Danville, South Deerfield, South Hampton, South Kingston, South Seabrook, Stratham, Stratham Station, Tappan Corners, The Five Corners, The Plantation, The Willows, Towles Corner, Town Hall Corner, Wallis Sands, Weare Corner, Weares Mill, Wentworth Acres, West Derry, West Epping, West Hampstead, West Kingston, West Nottingham, West Rye, West Windham, Westville, Wilson, Wilson Corners, Windham, Winniconic, Winnicut Mills.

We also do building inspections for commercial property as well as home inspections in New Hampshire: Atkinson, Auburn, Brentwood, Candia, Chester, Danville, Deerfield, Derry, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Fremont, Greenland, Hampstead, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Kensington, Kingston, Londonderry, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, Newton, North Hampton, Northwood, Nottingham, Plaistow, Portsmouth, Raymond, Rye, Salem, Sandown, Seabrook, South Hampton, Stratham, Windham, Concord Barrington, Cocheco, Davis, Dover, Durham, Farmington, Gonic, Lee, Madbury, Middleton, Milton, Milton Mills, New Durham, Rochester, Rollinsford, Salmon Falls, Somersworth, Strafford, Amherst, Bedford, Bennington, Brookline, Deering, Francestown, Goffstown, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Hillsborough, Hollis, Hudson, Litc, field, Lyndeborough, Manchester, Mason, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Nashua, New Boston, New Ipswich, Pelham, Peterborough, Sharon, Temple, Weare, Wilton, Windsor, Amherst, Antrim, Antrim Center, Bank, Bedford, Bennington, Broad Acres, Brookline, Browns Corner, Chase Village, Clinton Grove, Clinton Village, Cricket Corner, Davis, Deering, Drury, East Deering, East Merrimack, East Milford, Elmwood, Francestown, Gibson Four Corners, Goffs Falls, Goffstown, Grasmere, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Happy Valley, High Bridge, Hillsboro, Hillsboro Center, Hillsboro Lower Village, Hillsboro Upper Village, Hollis, Hollis Depot, Holton, Hudson, Hudson Center, Lawrence Corner, Lincoln Park, Litchfield, Loverens Mill, Lyndeborough, MacDowell Colony, Manchester*, Mason, Massabesic, Milford, Mont Vernon, Mountain Bas, Nashua*, New Boston, New Ipswich, New Ipswich Center, Noone, North Branch, North Brookline, North Pelham, North Village, North Weare, Parker, Pelham, Perham Corner, Peterborough, Pinardville, Ponemah, Pratt, Reeds Ferry, Riverdale, Russell, Sharon, Slab City, Smithville, South Brookline, South Lyndeborough, South Merrimack, South Milford, South Weare, Tavern Village, Temple, Thorntons Ferry, Weare, West Brookline, West Deering, West Hollis, West Peterborough, West Wilton, Wilder, Wilton, Wilton Center, Woodland Park, Amherst, Antrim, Antrim Center, Bank, Bedford, Bennington, Broad Acres, Brookline, Browns Corner, Chase Village, Clinton Grove, Clinton Village, Cricket Corner, Davis, Deering, Drury, East Deering, East Merrimack, East Milford, Elmwood, Francestown, Gibson Four Corners, Goffs Falls, Goffstown, Grasmere, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Happy Valley, High Bridge, Hillsboro, Hillsboro Center, Hillsboro Lower Village, Hillsboro Upper Village, Hollis, Hollis Depot, Holton, Hudson, Hudson Center, Lawrence Corner, Lincoln Park, Litchfield, Loverens Mill, Lyndeborough, MacDowell Colony, Manchester*, Mason, Massabesic, Milfor, Mont Vernon, Mountain Bas, Nashua, New Bosto, New Ipswich, New Ipswich Center, Noone, North Branch, North Brookline, North Pelham, North Village, North Weare, Parker, Pelha, Perham Corner, Peterborough, Pinardville, Ponemah, Pratt, Reeds Ferry, Riverdale, Russell, Sharon, Slab City, Smithville, South Brookline, South Lyndeborough, South Merrimack, South Milford, South Weare, Tavern Village, Temple, Thorntons Ferry, Weare, West Brookline, West Deering, West Hollis, West Peterborough, West Wilton, Wilder, Wilton, Wilton Center, Woodland Park.