For many people, Christmas provides the perfect opportunity to reunite with friends and family. Your aging parents may want to stop by for a few weeks, or maybe your college-age children want to come home in between semesters. Perhaps your cousins can’t wait to see you, or your entire extended family has a party in mind.
No matter the reason, your home will likely see a few extra people staying in the guest bedrooms or sleeping on the couches. Though you love and adore your family, your utilities might not be ready to handle the crowd. To accommodate your relations, be sure to follow these steps this Christmas season.
Your current water heater or boiler may provide two or three good showers before the hot water runs out. On an average day, this amount is more than enough for you and your partner.
But when you add five or six people to the mix, you need to carefully schedule shower time to ensure everyone feels cozy and comfortable. Encourage some family members to shower in the evenings and tell others to shower in the mornings. Leave enough of a gap between showers so the tank has time to refill itself.
Do not set your water heater thermostat to a much higher temperature. The new setting does not mean more hot water for everyone. Rather, it increases the risk of burns as well as wastes energy.
If you frequently host multiple guests, consider installing a water heater with a much larger tank to accommodate everyone.
If any of your guests suffer from allergies or sensitivities, you’ll want to clean your home thoroughly from top to bottom to remove pollen, dust mites, and other allergens. As you clean, don’t forget to replace the furnace filters and vacuum the ducts.
New, high-quality filters have an easier time catching particulates in the air that would otherwise trigger sneezing, coughing, and asthma attacks. And when you clean the ducts, you remove mold, dust, and debris that could potentially result in respiratory infections.
If you have the time and the budget, you may also wish to invest in a humidifier as well. Humidifiers provide relief to those who suffer from swollen nasal passages and sinus headaches.
You and your spouse likely have multiple electronics to charge every day. Your phone, your tablet, and your laptop all need a reliable outlet to keep their batteries at full power.
Now multiply the number of devices by the number of guests attending your home. You’ll likely have several overcrowded outlets and more than a few electronics in need of a charging station.
To protect everyone’s electronics from overload and to decrease your risk of fire, invest in multiple surge protectors. These surge protectors enable you to charge multiple devices at once, and when they’ve finished charging, you can simply flip the switch to avoid wasting electricity.
You and your partner may prefer to lower the thermostat in winter and snuggle up together in cozy blankets. Or perhaps you prefer to raise the thermostat so the pair of you can freely run wear shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts. But just because the two of you feel comfortable at a certain setting doesn’t mean the rest of your guests will feel the same way.
Talk to your friends and family members about what temperature they prefer, and adjust the thermostat accordingly. You may have to compromise with some family members and provide additional ways to stay warm (or cool). But when everyone agrees on a common temperature upfront, you can often avoid expensive “thermostat wars” that put extra strain on your HVAC system and your bank account.
When you follow these four steps, your home will be better prepared to deal with the crowd and keep everyone comfortable this holiday season. But if you need additional tips and advice, don’t hesitate to talk to a professional. He or she can advise you about the best ways to maintain your home before and after your guests come for a visit.