October Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist

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As the autumn leaves gracefully descend and cooler temperatures embrace us, October heralds the need to prepare for the impending winter and the holiday season. It's also a month dedicated to Fire Prevention Awareness, making it the ideal moment to refresh your family's fire safety plan.

This October, carve out some moments for essential home maintenance and safety duties to ensure a cozy, clutter-free abode that can withstand the approaching chill.

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1. Organize the junk drawer and cupboards

After months of collecting items, your junk drawer and cupboards could use some attention. Decrease the clutter by cutting down on Tupperware, old papers, and plastic bags. Save and organize items you may need later like batteries, flashlights, and first aid items so you can find them easily when you need them.

2. Make sure you're ready for a fire

Check your fire extinguisher

In honor of fire safety month, check your fire extinguisher's pressure gauge. The needle should stay in the green if the fire extinguisher is still good. You should also check the nozzle and hose for cracks. Teach your family how to use the fire extinguisher in case of an emergency too.

Develop a fire escape plan

Sit down and get on the same page with your family about a fire escape plan. Download some basic guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Stock up on items like fire extinguishers, emergency kits, and batteries for your smoke detectors.

Add fire escape ladders to higher floors

Escaping a fire from the top floor can be dangerous business. Add a fire escape ladder for each of the bedrooms in your home for an additional exit in an emergency.

3. Get cold weather ready

Replace the 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.

Test the sump pump

Don’t let flood water sneak up on you. Test your sump pump to ensure it’s still connected and properly siphoning water out of your basement and crawl spaces.

Insulate the pipes

If you live in an area that gets chilly in October, wrap the pipes in your basement to prevent them from freezing during the coming winter.

Turn off and flush outdoor water faucets

It’s time to hang up your gardening gloves for the winter, so go ahead and turn off and drain any outside water faucets to avoid freezing pipes.

Cover and store outdoor furniture

Find a place to stow your favorite chaise safe from the elements before the snow buries it. If you don’t have space in your shed or garage, at least cover outdoor furniture to avoid wear and tear on the upholstery.

Winterize perennials and clean out annuals

Prep your garden, landscaping, and flower beds for the cruel temps that force plants into hibernation, and clear out the dead stuff so you’ll have room for your next bright idea in the spring.

Rake the leaves and mow the lawn

Give that lawn one last rake and mow to sweep up any remaining debris and get your grass in tip-top shape for next year’s season of growth.

Decorate for Halloween

All the ghosts and ghouls will be out this month. If you're in the Halloween spirit, decorate your yard with pumpkins and spooky decorations.

4. Deep clean your bathrooms

Who doesn't love a fresh bathroom? Mold. Cleaning out the loo regularly can keep mold spores from settling. Be sure to get the vents, baseboards, and walls in addition to the usual suspects like the shower and toilet.

5. Test and change smoke and CO detector batteries

These vital 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. You should do the same for your carbon monoxide detector, especially if your home burns gas.

October FAQ

Raking leaves is a notorious October chore. Whether you like an old fashioned rake or go for a high-powered leaf blower, don’t just leave the leaves you collect. Leaves can be helpful for composting and easily turned into mulch. Or you can check to see if your community has a collection service that can take those leaves off your yard.

Young kids shouldn’t be left to trick or treat alone, so it’s best to wait until they’re older. Even for kids in elementary school, make sure they go in groups and stick to neighborhoods they’re familiar with. See our full trick or treating safety guide for more tips.

In many parts of the country, October can switch between warm and cool in a few hours. Consider a smart thermostat that will take the outside temperature and light levels of your home into account. These products are an initial investment, but they’re easy to install and can save you money in the long run.

Kaz Weida
Written by
Kaz Weida
Kaz is a journalist who covers home security, parenting, and community and child safety. Her work and product testing in the security and safety field spans the past four years. You can find Kaz in HuffPost, SheKnows, Lifehack, and much more. Her degree in education and her background as a teacher and a parent make her uniquely suited to offer practical advice on creating safe environments for your family.

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