‘Tis the season, folks, so let’s get started decking the halls for a safer house. Just like the rest of humanity, you’ll probably be short on time this month, so stick to the most important tasks, designated by an owl. Then pull up a cup of nog and relax by the fire, content in the knowledge that the best gift is a well-maintained home.
= High-Priority Task
Jump to the downloadable checklist.
Clean and Check Range Hood Fan
Greasy doesn’t even begin to cover it when it comes to this major appliance. Your range hood funnels odors and smoke out of your home, and a dirty fan isn’t just unsightly—it’s dangerous. Wipe it down and ensure it’s functional to avoid fire hazards in the kitchen.
Clean Garbage Disposal
If you’re standing near the sink and wondering what that smell is, your disposal is the culprit. Make sure the disposal is safely disconnected, and then eliminate all that food waste with a good scrub and disinfectant.
Inspect Hoses on Dishwasher, Ice Maker, and Fridge
Small drips can sneak up on you, so inspect hoses in the kitchen regularly to spot leaks and repair them before they cause damage.
Bedrooms and Living Areas
Check Flashlight, Replace Batteries
You’ll want to know exactly where your flashlight is when the lights go out, so be sure it’s handy and fully charged.
Hide Holiday Presents
It’s likely your home looks picturesque with presents clustered under the tree, but that Rockwellian front-window scene is a prime target for burglars. Keep gifts hidden away from the temptation of passing thieves.
Wipe Walls and Ceilings
Once you start, you’ll be horrified by the smudges of “what on earth is that” all over your home. If you have kids, bend down a bit to find where the trail of dirty fingerprints begins.
Lampshades? They should be called dust collectors. Give these a good wipe down with a damp cloth, a lint roller, or the brush attachment on your vacuum.
You never know when you’ll need this hidden workhorse, so give your generator a once-over and top off the fluids to ensure it’s ready for service during the next power outage.
Vacuum and Dust HVAC System
Don’t blow it by leaving your HVAC to collect the dust and pollen that circulates throughout your home. A good dusting will do wonders to clear the air.
Replace Furnace Filter
You’ll be in hot water if you forget to replace the filter in your furnace, so check it every 4–6 weeks during the winter months.
Update First Aid Kit
Summer sports may have depleted your first aid supplies, so don’t forget to stock up on basics like bandages and disinfectant before holiday guests arrive.
Clean or Replace Shower Curtains
Your shower curtain has been providing plenty of cover, but when was the last time you cleaned it? Most modern plastic and cloth shower curtains are machine washable, so check the label.
Repair Steps and Banisters
Level up on safety by checking your stairs for loose rails, broken slats, and protruding nails that might cause injury.
Test and Change Detector Batteries
These important safety devices don’t do much if they aren’t charged and connected, so test both your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Stock up on those AA batteries and get it done. Earplugs required.
Check for Ice Dams and Icicles
If your gutters get blocked, chances are you’ve got an ice dam accumulating somewhere on your roof. Remove any ice and consider buying heated lines to place in the channels to avoid future buildup.
Install Outdoor Security Camera
That Amazon package that just got taken off your porch will be impossible to track down unless you have a security camera installed. You can check SafeWise’s recommendations for both outdoor and indoor security cameras.
Maintain Shoveled and Salted Walkway
Not only does keeping your walk clear and ice-free prevent injuries, it’s also literally your responsibility according to the law. Make sure you’ve got plenty of salt on hand to do the job.
Install Smart Holiday Lights
Use energy-efficient holiday lights and set them up on timers so that even if you’re away during the holidays, you can create the appearance of merriment in your home and discourage intruders.
It’s the busiest time of the year, but you never want safety to be your last priority. Stay on the nice list by completing a task a day, and you’ll be ready to party in no time.
December Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist
If you have time for only one or two safety tips, choose the most urgent tasks, marked with a SafeWise owl.
- Clean and Check Range Hood
- Clean Garbage Disposal
- Inspect Hoses on Dishwasher, Ice Maker, and Fridge
Bedrooms and Living Areas
- Check Flashlights, Replace Batteries
- Hide Holiday Presents
- Wipe Walls and Ceilings
- Clean Lampshades
- Service Generator
- Vacuum and Dust HVAC System
- Replace Furnace Filter
- Update First Aid Kit
- Clean or Replace Shower Curtain
- Repair Steps and Banister
- Test and Change Detector Batteries
- Check for Ice Dams and Icicles
- Install Outdoor Security Camera
- Maintain Shoveled and Salted Walkway
- Install Smart Holiday Lights
Did you make your list and check it twice? Reward yourself for a job well done with a safe, clean home for the holidays.