September Safety Checklist

Another season has begun, and your home deserves some special attention to prepare for colder temperatures. Follow through on this list to ensure the most important safety and maintenance tasks don’t fall through the cracks in September. If you’ve got too much on your plate this month, pare down to just the high-priority tasks, denoted by an owl. Next month, you can circle back and complete what you skipped when colder temperatures force everyone inside.

= High-Priority Task

Jump to the downloadable checklist.

Kitchen

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.

 

    • Scrub Out Microwave
      Pro tip: go easy on yourself by putting a bowl of water in the microwave and warming it for about a minute. The steam will make it easier to scrub off all those caked-on leftovers.

 

    • Clean Out Spice Cupboard
      Expired spices and herbs won’t add much flavor to your food and might harbor mold or other bacteria. Clean out your spice cabinet twice a year to ensure freshness.

 

  • Tighten and Lubricate Hinges on Fridge
    If your fridge has been sounding the alarm every time you open it, it’s probably time to give those hinges a little lubrication.

Bedrooms and Living Areas

Install or Replace Outlet Covers

    • Got kids? Then you know the drill. It’s essential to keep outlets covered and safe from little fingers.

Get Fireplaces Professionally Checked and Cleaned
If you plan to snuggle down by the fire at any point this winter, get your fireplace serviced by a professional. Experts recommend yearly inspections for both your chimney and fireplace for safety reasons.

Create a Safety Plan for Natural Disasters
Decide which natural disasters you’re most likely to experience in your neck of the woods and create a family safety plan. Need help getting started? The CDC has some great guidelines you can follow here.

 

 

  • Tighten and Lubricate Hinges on Fridge
    If your fridge has been sounding the alarm every time you open it, it’s probably time to give those hinges a little lubrication.

 

 

 

  • Clean Blinds
    One look and you’ll understand that you should have done this months ago. Yuck. Give your blinds a good swipe, and you’ll be able to see clearly. At least for now.

 

 

 

  • Check and Replace Weather Stripping around Doors and Windows
    Keep the cold out by making sure your weather stripping hasn’t slipped out of place around windows and doors. Replace any worn caulking that leaves gaps, or you’ll find the wind whistling through more than you might like this season.

 

 

 

  • Clean Ceiling Fans, Light Fixtures, and Vents
    Look up and you’ll find you’ve neglected to clean much of your living space simply because it was out of sight. Give lights, fans, and vents a good dusting before you start circulating heat and spreading dust mites.

 

 

 

  • Change Direction of Ceiling Fan for Winter
    Did you know this was a thing? This is a thing. Changing the direction your fan spins can help circulate heat in winter. Refer to the manufacturer’s directions if you’re not sure how to do this on your model.

 

Basement

Get Heating System Serviced

    • Before you turn up the heat, ensure your furnace is working properly and get it inspected by a professional. A safe, efficient heating system saves you time and money all winter long.

Get a 72-Hour Emergency Kit
You never know when disaster might strike, so make sure you’re prepared. Grab a 72-hour survival kit that contains everything you’d need in a pinch and keep it handy. Already have an emergency kit? Check it for items that need to be replaced or are expired.

  • Store Summer Items and Replace with Fall Items
    Say goodbye to summer temps and stow your pool supplies, beach towels, and flip-flops. It’s officially time to break out the coats and boots and see if you can dig up a pair of mittens. You know, instead of just one.

 

Bathrooms

  • Check Bathtub Caulking
    Mildew, hard-water buildup, and age can deteriorate the caulking around your tub, so be ready to replace it to keep things looking fresh and safely sealed.

Hallways

  • Dust Stair Handrail
    Pretty much everyone who has ever been in your house has touched this. Everybody. Grossed out yet? Disinfect, polish, repeat.

Outside

Drain and Winterize Outside Irrigation

    • If you live in a place that drops below freezing in the winter, you need to turn your outside water off and winterize your irrigation system. Get on it. Pronto.

Turn Off and Cover AC Unit
At some point this month, you’ll probably crank that AC for the last time. Power it down and cover it to protect the unit from the winter elements.

Install Storm Windows
If you’ve got them, install ‘em. Lock in those storm windows before the first big nor’easter hits.

Rake Leaves and Dispose of Mulch
It’s tempting to leave all that mess for another time, but your lawn will suffer under the weight of that muck. Remove leaves and mulch from your yard and dispose of it at your local green-waste facility.

 

 

  • Prune Plants and Trees
    Many plants, and especially trees, should be pruned in the fall—so tackle unruly branches and shape shrubs before the first frost.

 

 

 

  • Inspect Roof
    This is your last chance to spot problems before the snow starts flying, so take a good look and fasten any loose shingles.

 

 

 

  • Organize Garage for Winter
    Put away the lawn mower and dig out the snowblower and shovels. Don’t let the first storm catch you unprepared.

 

 

 

  • Fertilize Lawn
    Put another healthy dose of fertilizer on your lawn before winter and your grass will wake up in the spring and thank you.

 

 

 

  • Clean Gutters
    Clear the last of the debris from those gutters to make them ready for runoff from approaching storms. Clogged gutters in the winter can result in ice dams that’ll damage the exterior of your home.

 

 

 

  • Drain and Store Garden Hoses
    Your hoses will last longer if you care for and store them properly along with your other garden tools. Just don’t forget to drain the water first. Or get a nice, icy cold surprise when you wind them up. Either way—your choice.

 

 

 

  • Touch Up Exterior Paint
    Walk around the perimeter of your home and give any unsightly spots a touch-up. It’ll be your last chance to put on a good face before the holidays.

 

If you’re afraid you’ll fail to get a handle on your fall tasks, schedule one per week on your calendar so September doesn’t get away from you.

Written by Kaz Weida

When she's not chasing two little ones around the house, Kaz spends her time reviewing products to keep your family safe. Learn more

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