December Household maintenance and safety checklist

by Apr 30, 2021Safety


Maintaining the home in December is more than just putting up lights and decorating the tree. Nothing dampens the spirit of the season like an unexpected home repair or soaring energy bills.

In December, keep an eye out for easy tasks that can save you money and prevent potentially harmful holiday disasters such as exploding pipes, gutter waterfalls and pyrotechnic gifts.



1. Examine the kitchen

Check your oven and range

Between holiday dinners and baking for family and friends, your oven and range get a workout in December. Protect your family from cooking by keeping your appliances in top shape.

  • Check your oven seal for cracks and wear.
  • Examine the oven heater for problems.
  • Clean the filter on your hood.

Sharpen your knives

Believe it or not, sharp knives make cooking safer. To save yourself from cracks and cuts, sharpen and polish your kitchen knives before preparing your big meals in December.

Just be sure to use knife covers and store your freshly sharpened knives safely.

Check the device’s hoses

If it uses water, it is a risk of leakage. Check the hoses on your dishwasher, refrigerator and laundry machine to make sure the water stays where it belongs.

Even if the hoses in your appliances and plumbing are in good condition, consider getting a water leak detector. These devices are sensitive to pooling water and warn you when they sense a problem. Catching a drip or leak early can prevent severe flooding and water damage in the future.

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Light bulb

If your dishwasher or washing machine needs a new hose, do not panic. It’s like changing a light bulb, but much wetter.

  • Disconnect the power and water to your house during the process.
  • Remove the old or damaged drain hose. Keep a bucket nearby to catch excess water.
  • Attach the new hose to the appliance and make sure that the fit is tight.
  • Connect the hose to the water or power source, and restore power and water to your home.

2. Winter size

Clean the chimney and the fireplace

Unless you are itching to scale your roof, we recommend leaving sweeping the chimney to the experts. But you can extend the time between chimney cleanings by removing ash and other debris from the fireplace after each fire.

We also recommend keeping flammable materials and decorations free of the fireplace, even when it is not lit. Keep the gate closed and the children away from the fireplace as well.

Seal cracks

Warm ceilings offer cozy sleeping areas for wild creatures and pests, so close any cracks to keep uninvited holidaymakers out. While up there, check your roof for leaks to prevent water damage.

Bell
Use your smart speakers to prevent fires

If you have a smart speaker or warnings on your phone, set reminders about watering the tree, blowing out lights, and turning off the space heater. These simple reminders can help prevent fires from the most common sources.

Bundle of pipes

Frozen pipes = broken pipes. Use pipe insulation to wrap any exposed pipes in your crawl space or basement.

The pipes indoors are also not the only ones at risk of freezing. Check pipes and plumbing outside to ensure they are insulated and in good condition. Learn more about how to prevent frozen pipes in your home.

Add mats for all kinds of weather

Everyone likes to make an entrance, but slipping and falling on a wet floor is a painful way to do it. Put mats in place for drying feet, and use trunk to contain puddles of melted snow.

Light bulb
Avoid tripping over hazards

Use adhesive tape to prevent mats and carpets from slipping on hardwood and tile floors. This increases safety in high traffic areas and also protects against active kiddos and pets that inadvertently rearrange your flooring design.

Clear the snow and ice

We are not just talking about driveways and footbridges (though they are important). Use a roof rake to remove snow and ice from your roof, tree branches and gutters to rid them of potentially harmful weight.

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If you’m out of town, rent a snow removal service to prevent the accumulation of snow and ice, your house may not look vacant.

Make your holiday light

Set light timers

If you are going out of town in December, create smart plugs around your home to illuminate your dark house. Burglars are less likely to enter an inhabited house, so it’s smart to program intermittent lighting to make it work fully.

Water your Christmas tree

If you have a real Christmas tree in your home this year, do not forget to water it like any other plant. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a dry Christmas tree can be completely engulfed in flames in less than a minute.1

Not only does a dry wood pose a fire risk, stinging nettles can leave your floor sticky and make a mess. So keep the tree happy with a little H20, and minimize fire risks at the same time.

Practice safe storage

‘It’s the season to hurt yourself while picking things up from high shelves. Keep stable step chairs available in storage areas, and avoid injuries by splitting large features into several trips.

If you use a ladder to pick up boxes of decorations or set them up, do not do it alone. Get a loved one or neighbor to help you by stabilizing the ladder and helping. It makes the job go faster and it becomes much safer.

Replace your oven filter

Now that you spend more time indoors, you will want to breathe clean indoor air. Replace your oven filter every three months so you and your family can breathe easily.

You can improve the air quality inside with a few simple tricks like regular cleaning and leaving the air purifier.

4. Make a bath check

Install non-slip mats

If you have older guests visiting you for the holidays, add non-slip bathroom mats, handlebars and even a shower to your bathroom. These senior safety devices take seconds to install and can prevent serious injuries and falls.

Rebuild first aid kit

With all the hustle and bustle of December, be sure to be prepared for accidents and injuries that may occur. Check your first aid kit for the home and make sure it has everything you need for cuts, burns and other emergencies.

Clean the shower curtains

A warm winter shower can be pampered at the sight of mildew and mold. Clean your shower curtains in your guest bathroom with bleach or fungicide to reduce the ugly stains. And reducing mold and mildew can improve the air quality in your home.

5. Replace detector batteries

6. Add cameras or a doorbell comb

When ordering holiday gifts this month, you can prevent porch pirates and increase home security with an outdoor camcorder or video doorbell.

Doorbell cameras also help you answer the door for guests while you are busy inside. When they call, you can talk to them via the app on your phone. So whether it’s Grandma visiting or the delivery driver delivering a package, you do not have to stop what you’re doing to talk to them.

Install reflective markers

If you get a lot of snow where you live, strategically placed reflective markers can help prevent snowplows (and other vehicles) from accidentally turning toward your mailbox or driving across your lawn.

FAQ

You only have a few extra maintenance tasks that you can add to your December maintenance list.

Here are some tasks you can add to your list at any time this winter:

  • Check seals on exterior doors and windows
  • Clean waste from window wells
  • Empty your garden hose and outdoor faucets
  • Clean ceiling openings and drying outlets
  • Clean the refrigerator coils

A home security system provides good protection against burglars. You can also place shades on windows, add exterior lighting and factor theft prevention in your leaf choices. Keep landscaping trimmed to prevent an empty space, and consider introducing thorny shrubs under windows as burglars.

We recommend LED holiday lamps because they emit less heat than traditional bulbs. Whatever lamps you use, be sure to inspect the wires for fraying before hanging them up.

Related pages

  • How to keep your home safe during the holidays
  • November Website for maintenance and safety
  • January Household Maintenance and Safety Checklist
  • The best video doorbell cameras

Sources

  1. National Fire Protection Association, “Christmas tree fires can become devastating and deadly within seconds, “December 9, 2015. Accessed November 30, 2020.

Kasey Tross

Written by

Kasey Tross

Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in preparedness and security. As the mother of four children, including two teenagers, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face when raising technologically savvy children in a cohesive world, and she loves exploring the latest safety options for her own family and for SafeWise readers. .

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The post from December Maintenance and Safety List first appeared on SafeWise.

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