Stock the liquor cabinet. Check. Ready the guests rooms. Check. Decorate the mantle. Check.

As we prepare to celebrate the season with family and friends, it’s easy to focus on the visible things, but let’s not forget the underlying systems in and around the house that need attention too.

1. Schedule Chimney Cleaning

Making sure the chimney and furnace are cleaned, maintained and in working order before you need to turn on the heat. Replace filters. Clean ducts. Add a chimney cap. You don’t want any furry surprises crawling down the chimney before Santa arrives.

2. Check Safety Devices

Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher. Fall is a good time to check for radon because as the weather gets cooler and windows stay shut more often, radon is more likely to become trapped. At levels above 4, radon is considered harmful.

3. Clean Dryer Vents

Lint buildup in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire. With cool, dry weather, static electricity increases, which can ignite lint that has built up.

4. Prune Plants and Trees

Keep limbs and branches at least three feet away to avoid moisture and prevent damage to the exterior of the house.

5. Fertilize the Lawn

Prep for fall and winter by applying fertilizer while roots are still active and the grass isn’t growing. Your lawn turn green faster in the spring.

6. Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Once most of the leaves have fallen, clean out clogged gutters and downspouts to avoid damage to your roof or siding.

7. Check Walkways and Driveways

Walking from the driveway to the front door can be challenging when it’s covered in ice and snow. Check that all steps are in good shape and have sturdy railings, and that the driveway is ready for easier shoveling or plowing. Have you considered a heated driveway?

8. Plan for Bad Weather

If you use a snow blower, have it serviced and purchase fuel.

Take a look at the condition of snow shovels and ice scrapers. Pick up a bag of pet- and plant-safe ice melt. Check to see your cars have emergency kits too.

9. Shut Off Exterior Faucets and Store Hoses

Protect your pipes from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to exterior faucets before the weather dips below freezing. Remove all garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Drain hoses and store them indoors. Drain and turn off sprinkler system.

10. Check Outdoor Lighting

Ice and snow aren’t the only impediments to safe walking. Make sure your sidewalks, doors, and driveways are well lit too.

Ok, now you’re ready to welcome guests for the holidays!