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February Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist

Written by | Updated January 14, 2020

It’s after the holidays and another six weeks until spring arrives. But you don’t have to wait to see your shadow to start your spring projects.

Chase those late-winter blues away with some February home maintenance. Get inspired with these home improvement and safety tips.

Kitchen

Check a couple of these items off your winter home safety maintenance checklist to improve conditions in your kitchen.

Deep Clean the Garbage Disposal 

Nobody likes a stinky sink, so take a little time this February to clear the air in your kitchen. A clogged garbage disposal isn’t just gross—it can create expensive plumbing problems. Here’s how to clean your garbage disposal.1

  1. Turn off the power.
  2. Wipe the grinding chamber and drain.
  3. Deodorize with ice and vinegar.

Keep your garbage disposal clean for the rest of the year by grinding orange and lemon peels once a week.

Clean Out the Oven

Did you know that 8% of home cooking fires are caused by dirty ovens or ranges?2 Grime and food built up over the year can render your oven a grimy fire hazard if you don’t clean it regularly.

The good news is cleaning the oven is as easy as following the instructions on your favorite brand of oven cleaner.

Keeping your smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms in top shape can also prevent fires. Be sure to check your CO and smoke alarms once a month by testing the batteries and replacing the unit every 10 years. If you’re due for a replacement, consider our recommendations for the best smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Check Your Fire Extinguisher

Kitchen fires are serious business. From 2012 to 2016, cooking was the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries and the second leading cause behind home fire deaths.3

You can keep an accident from becoming a tragedy by investing in a fire extinguisher and training your family on how to use it.

Bedrooms and Living Areas

Make your home feel a little cozier with these bedroom and living area improvements.

Clean Linens, Carpets, and Curtains

Dust, mites, and dander can all cause allergies long before spring pollen strikes. Deep clean your bedsheets, duvets, and comforters in each bedroom to keep the creepy crawlies away. The carpets and curtains in your living areas will also need some love after a year of use.

Change Wi-Fi and Personal Passwords

Internet-connected smart devices like security systems and cameras need a little maintenance too. Regularly changing your home Wi-Fi password and passwords to accounts like email, bank, and social media accounts can keep prying eyes at bay.

Use unique, complex passwords for each of your accounts for extra security. You should do this more than once a year, but it’s never too late to start! Try using a password manager this month to keep all your data safe.

Upgrade Indoor Lights

Brighten things up with an upgrade to your living room and bedroom lights. You can control smart lights and anything plugged into a smart plug directly from your phone.

These devices let you turn on the lights or start your morning coffee without getting out of bed. You can also find smartbulbs that add mood lighting for that big date with your valentine.

Basement

Unfinished or totally furnished, your basement needs some love every February too. These simple basement chores will make the rest of the year a little better.

Set Up Leak Detectors

Basement floods don’t always come in Biblical proportions. Sometimes a little leak can cause a lot of water damage and lead to mold. This February, try placing water leak detectors under appliances like washing machines and water heaters.

These devices sound an alarm when they detect water so you can get ahead of water damage issues. You can even find smart water detectors that send alerts to your phone and let you shut off your home’s waterline remotely.

Check Your Home’s Foundation and Test for Radon

Radon is a radioactive gas that can leak into basements through cracks in the walls and foundation. While some areas are more at risk than others, you should still take precautions in your basement.

Protect your family by adding a radon detector to the basement or lowest level of your home.

Bathrooms 

Here are a few home safety maintenance tasks to make your throne room fit for a king.

Clean out your medicine cabinet

After years of medications piling up, it’s time to clean out your medicine cabinet. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends tossing unused or expired medications.

Proper disposal depends on the type of medication you’re throwing away. There are some medications you can flush and others you can’t. For those you aren’t sure about, many cities have take-back locations that will dispose of medications properly.

Recaulk the Tub and Toilet

Prevent leaks and water damage in your home by checking the sealing and caulking in your bathroom. It only takes a few minutes to patch up any problem areas. You can find caulk online or at your local hardware store.

Deep Clean to Prevent Mold

Bathrooms are a paradise for molds, mildew, and fungus. This February, clean out your vents, fix any water leaks, and scrub the walls and ceilings to prevent black mold and other household mildews.

Hallways

It’s easy to take your hallways for granted when it comes to routine checks and maintenance. These quick tasks take only a few minutes and can keep your home safe all year.

Test Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
Nest Protect

Nest Protect

Dead batteries caused 25% of smoke alarm failures from 2012 to 2016.4 Simple routine maintenance can keep your home much safer.

This February, check all the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re functional. If it’s been over 10 years since you last replaced these units, invest a little cash and replace your existing detectors.

The Nest Protect is a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector with smart features like voice alerts, a night light, and connectivity with smart hubs like your Google Home Assistant.

Change Your HVAC Filter

Air quality is important inside and outside your home. Breathe a little easier going into spring by changing your HVAC air filter in the hallways, ceilings, or wherever your vent is located. While vents can vary from home to home, the process takes about as long as changing a lightbulb.

Outside

While February can be chilly, for those in warmer climates, spring is just around the corner. Here are a few ways you can keep the outside of your home safer until the warm weather comes.

Keep the Driveway and Sidewalk Clear

If you live in a cold, snowy area, you already know how important it is to de-ice the driveway and sidewalk. Even if you don’t use the sidewalk near your home, others do. Keeping ice-melting salt and a snow shovel handy for those winter storms can make your home safer for your family and neighbors.

Watch for Ice Dams and Icicles

Ice buildup on your roof and gutters can cause expensive damage later in the year. Patch up any areas that tend to collect water to prevent leaks and further damage to your roof.

If you live in a warmer area, clean out your gutters this February to prepare for the spring showers. Clogged gutters can cause expensive issues with your roof even if snow and ice aren’t part of the equation.

Upgrade Locks

Boost security and convenience with new smart locks this year. Smart locks make it easier for you to get in and out of your house without letting intruders in. They’re especially handy for anyone who tends to lose their keys or needs to let visitors in.

Get Ahead on Spring Cleaning

It can be easy to get cabin fever this time of year, so make your home feel a little safer, cleaner, and happier this February by checking some items off this home maintenance list. Get more ideas for monthly home maintenance in our March home maintenance checklist.

Sources

  1. The Spruce, “How to Clean a Garbage Disposal
  2. National Fire Protection Association, “Home Cooking Fires
  3. National Fire Protection Association, “Home Cooking Fires Report 2018
  4. National Fire Protection Association, “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires

Written by Katie McEntire

Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more

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