Holiday Home Surprises – And How to Avoid Them

Burnt dinners and family spats can certainly put a damper on holiday enjoyment, but according to the home improvement gurus at they don’t even make the top five list of unpleasant holiday season surprises.

Here’s their list along with how to prevent them and what to do when they occur.

  1. Toilet Backups
    You may know what your plumbing can handle, but when your home is full of guests you lose control over what gets flushed. Prevent embarrassing clogs and overflows by having your drains periodically (every 2 years or so) scoped and cleaned and remedy sluggish drains before guests arrive. When trouble strikes, have a plunger handy. If that doesn’t clear the drain, call a plumber.
  2. Appliance Failures
    While a balky washer or dryer can be a nuisance, a non-functioning stove, oven, or refrigerator can spell hosting disaster. If the appliance is tripping breakers on a 120-volt circuit, the problem could be an overload. Refrigerators, stoves, and ovens should be on dedicated circuits, so the trouble will most likely be with the appliance itself or the wiring feeding it. Ovens and stoves are typically 240-volts and any repairs should be done by professionals, as should any wiring issues regardless of voltage. On other circuits, overloads may be caused by added holiday lights and other electrical items. Try unplugging them and if that doesn’t solve the problem, call a pro.
  3. Power Outages
    There’s not a lot you can do to prevent outages on the utility grid, but you can do your part to prevent them by keeping your trees trimmed safely away from power lines so you’re not the culprit. Otherwise, your best bet is to be prepared. Have flashlights with fresh batteries and candles ready for lighting. Limit cell phone usage to preserve battery life—use a land line instead if you have one that’s working.  And follow safe practices when trying to add or maintain heat in your home. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has detailed information on coping with power outages on their website.
    If you experience frequent or prolonged power outages, explore auxiliary electrical sources. Backup batteries can provide limited power for a while, but you may want to consider backup generators instead. Take the time to learn the options and pick the best solution for you. An electrical professional can help you choose.
  4. Clogged Garbage Disposers
    Unclogging a disposer can be as simple as using a special wrench (it came with your unit) to loosen debris and extracting it (after turning off the power at the breaker) or as complicated as having your drain line snaked out. Follow your manufacturer’s directions on what to put in the disposer to prevent clogs and call a plumber when simple solutions don’t work.
  5. Furnace Breakdowns
    Nobody wants to shiver through the holidays, so be sure to have your furnace inspected each fall, keep its filters clean, and make any needed repairs before guests arrive.


Disaster preparedness is a year-round job and electrical readiness plays a huge part. Allstar Electrical Services offers auxiliary power solutions as well as rapid response radio-dispatched emergency services 24/7. Call 303.399.7420 or visit our website. We’ve served the Front Range for over 15 years and are top-rated by the BBB and Angie’s List.

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