Holiday Home Projects
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and just after that it’s time for carols and Christmas trees. If you’ve got friends and family coming over for the holidays, then the time is ripe to complete any home projects you’ve been meaning to get to. The last few weeks of fall are where all the work tends to land.
If you’re looking for ways to spruce up your holiday get together, then now is the time. There are tons of do-it-yourself projects that can impress even your snobbiest relative. So before the minivans start pulling up in front of your driveway, get out your tools and try these home projects.
Traditionally the day after Thanksgiving is the first day to light up those Christmas bulbs, but that doesn’t mean you have to put off all the work until the last minute. Let yourself relax this Thanksgiving by doing some of your Christmas decorations early. If you’re planning on installing permanent light hooks, consider doing that ahead of time. You can also run your outdoor extension cords and test your lights in the fall. You can even hang lights weeks ahead of time and simply leave them dark until the holiday season arrives. Get all of the boring, difficult tasks out of the way and then when the holidays roll around, you can “put up” your decorations in half the time, making for a much more fun, family experience.
Fix up your driveway
Your drive is likely to get double the beating during the winter months. Cold, snowy weather can wreak havoc on most driveway materials, from gravel to concrete. And you’ll probably be seeing a lot more traffic than normal, traffic that will likely tear up your driveway with harsh snow tires. Fortunately you can prep your driveway for the holidays to minimize damage and save money.
●Apply a sealant
If your driveway is asphalt or concrete, then you’ll want to make sure it’s properly sealed. Fall is a good time to double check that your sealant hasn’t worn off or been damaged. Silicone is a good option thanks to its water resistance and ability to handle drastic temperature changes.
●Smooth everything out
If you have a gravel driveway, then you probably do most of your maintenance in the springtime. That doesn’t mean you can’t lessen your springtime burden with some pre-winter prep work, though. Be sure to smooth your driveway out before the first snowfall, filling in any holes or tracks that have been worn in over the summer.
Once your driveway is prepped for winter, be sure to stay on top of snow removal. Doing a little bit of shoveling everytime it snows is much safer for you and your driveway than waiting until several inches have been packed down.
Install a new thermostat
Winter: the time of the yearly thermostat wars. Continual fiddling with your thermostat, or an old thermostat that’s not very accurate can lead to you living in an uncomfortable home or overspending on your heating bill. Thermostats are usually within the abilities of most do-it-yourselfers. The instructions are generally straight-forward.
- Turn off the power to the old thermostat unit as well as the power to your heating and cooling systems (flip the switch at the circuit breaker or main fuse).
- Remove the old thermostat, but leave the wall plate so you can see how the wires are supposed to connect.
- Label your wires and their connections. Take a picture so you have something to look at later.
- Test to make sure the power is off. Then disconnect the wires and remove the wall plate.
- Install the new wall plate and thermostat per the specific instructions that came with the unit.
- Restore power and enjoy.
Check your fireplace
Even if you never use your fireplace, it’s still important to have it cleaned once a year or so. If you’re planning on lighting up a cozy fire this winter, then you especially need to give your chimney a once over before you light any flames. Buildup in the chimney could be flammable, and other minor repairs could lead to big problems if not fixed. You should have your chimney professionally cleaned. In addition, look for and fix the following:
●Missing flue caps
The holidays are stressful enough without extra work on top of everything else. Nobody ever seems to have enough time and November and December tend to fly by in a flurry of Christmas cookies and tinsel. Be sure to get your winter home projects done before fall ends so you can relax and enjoy the holidays with friends and family. A little bit of preparation in the fall means you can spend early winter planning fun activities and shopping for the perfect gifts.