The holidays should be a fun time of year filled with family and festivities. However, an unexpected home emergency can quickly bring an end to all the joy and merriment. Here are some home maintenance and protection tips from Andrew Wynn, co-founder of Sheltr and Director of Home Services at Hippo Insurance to help you avoid unnecessary stress and repair. 

Get Ahead of Home Maintenance

Hosting for the holidays this year? Avoid potential disasters with a little bit of home prep before the company arrives so you don’t go down in the history books as the coldest, or scariest, home in the history of your family’s holidays.The weather around the holidays often calls for even more attention to important components of your home to keep everything in working order:

Heating System:

Fire up and make sure your heating system is functional before the weather gets too cold and be sure to replace your furnace filter. If it’s not working correctly or you have an older system, get it serviced by a professional HVAC contractor so it doesn’t break down when you need it most. 

Holiday Lights:

Holiday lights are a great way to bring the festive spirit to your home. However, if done wrong they can cause serious issues like electrical fires. Make sure your lights are plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet and you’re using the proper grade and certified power cables.


Check your hot water heater tank for signs of cracks and corrosion. Water heaters need to be replaced every 10-15 years and the last time you want to be without hot water is the dead of winter. Also, if you live in a cold climate, make sure to shut off and drain all of your exterior pipes at the mains to prevent them from freezing.

As an added bonus, homes that are well maintained are safer, require fewer costly repairs, and retain more of their value. So finally the holidays will start helping you save money for the year ahead. 

Before you Travel, Bank on Home Protection

The holidays can also be a time when your home may get lonely. Whether you’re gone for long periods traveling across the country or enjoying your local holiday fairs, preparing your home for your departure is an important step to a happy holiday. Here’s a few easy steps to get your home protected: 

Smart Home Devices:

Consider adding Smart Home devices like a home security camera or system to protect your home while you’re gone. Not to mention, Hippo Insurance customers can get discounts for adding smart home devices.

Exterior of your Home:

Check for any overhanging and dead branches and trim them back to prevent them from damaging your house during winter storms. Now that most of the leaves have fallen, clear your gutters of leaves and debris to help liquids flow off your roof easily. Also, be sure the downspouts to your gutters direct water away from your foundation.

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors:

Whether the heater is on with a house full of cooks or you’re out of town to celebrate, it’s critical to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Be sure to change the batteries and test to make sure everything is working. In newer homes, many of the smoke detectors are hardwired but even these still need to be replaced every 10 years.

Home maintenance and protection is the number one frustration of today’s homeowners in the ongoing cost and responsibility of maintaining their homes – just take a look at these facts. But, it’s not worth letting basic maintenance ruin your holidays which is why there’s great options out there to help you avoid any pitfalls or disasters. 

Hippo and Sheltr are also here to help. Soon, Hippo customers will have the option to receive specially designed protective home maintenance checkups from Sheltr. Learn more about Sheltr and their services here

If you have any questions about Sheltr or need help with these or other home maintenance tasks, don’t hesitate to say hello at [email protected] or (800) 755-9025. 

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