House Safety Maintenance Checklist – Do It Now


All of the house safety maintenance checklist items listed below are extremely important for household members, especially for children. While performing home inspections I’ve noticed that many home owners, parents of small children, are simply not aware about the critical safety issues in their homes.

They don’t realize that sometimes things need to be updated / replaced / maintained to perform as required, and to provide protection. Execute the following house safety maintenance checklist as soon as possible and keep educating everyone in your family about hazardous conditions.

House safety maintenance #1 – Prepare and review a fire escape plan with your family

House safety maintenance - basement safety windowHouse safety maintenance - basement safety window label

  • Make sure that everyone knows about hidden keys to locked doors leading to exterior.
  • Maintain functional windows in areas that could provide safety escape route, such as basement windows – people sometimes replace safety escape type windows with regular ones or block / seal them permanently.
  • Make sure that your basement windows and window wells guards / bars can be easily removed from interior.

House safety maintenance #2

House safety maintenance - install GFCI outlet receptacles in required locationsMaintain functional GFCI outlets / Install GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, wet bar sink areas, garages, exterior, laundry area (within 6′ from the sink edge), crawlspace, unfinished basement – GFCI locations

If you don’t have GFCI protected outlet receptacles in any or some of those areas, you’re not obligated to update them (unless you’re replacing it for some reason). But… your life might depend on one of those devices and such a small investment is definitely worth considering. Learn how to install GFCI outlet and  GFCI outlet maintenance / testing procedures – recommended on monthly basis.

Smoke alarm testing schedule sheet to print and place it in your home

Put a reminder of this next house safety maintenance item (#3) in your phone calendar, tape a note to your refrigerator, computer monitor… whatever, just remember to do it often! 

Click on the image (link opens in a new window) and print your smoke alarm testing schedule for the entire year. Mark each week after you test the alarm!

House safety maintenance #3

Maintain functional and properly installed smoke & Carbon Monoxide alarms on each floor of your property (including basement) and in each sleeping area (within 15′ from the sleeping area in some jurisdictions). Replace smoke alarms every 10 years (max) and CO alarms based on the manufacturer recommendation (usually every 5 years). Test the smoke and CO alarms once a week, clean their covers periodically from dust, and change the batteries twice a year.

For those life saving devices to perform properly they must be installed in the right location; check smoke alarm locations and Carbon Monoxide alarm locations.

House safety maintenance #4

House safety maintenance - replace clothes dryer plastic vent pipes with metal oneshouse safety maintenanceLook behind your clothes dryer and immediately replace its vent pipe if it is plastic – it’s a fire hazard. Use a metal vent pipe, as short as possible, preferably solid / smooth wall, clean it often to prevent it from clogging – read more about clothes dryer vent requirements.

House safety maintenance #5

Clean your dryer filters after every cycle, check vent pipe and exterior cover for contamination on regular basis

House safety maintenance #6

House safety maintenance - uncoated brass flexible gas connectors pose safety, fire, explosion hazard and should be immediately replacedReplace uncoated brass gas appliance connectors immediately. Those flexible gas connectors were banned decades ago but are still in use in many homes – it’s a serious safety / fire / explosion hazard. Check all house appliances utilizing gas as a fuel.

House safety maintenance critical with small children!

House safety maintenance #7

Guardrail pickets must be less than 4 inches apartHouse safety maintenance - climbable balcony guardrails are not permitted - watch your childrenMake sure that stair handrails and guardrails (including balcony) are secured and safe for your children. You can find more in in  Stair handrails and guardrails safety and balcony safety.

House safety maintenance #8

House safety maintenance - clothes closet light fixtures must be fully enclosed - no exposed light bulbsCloset light safety - plush teddy bear touching exposed incandescent light bulb will be set on fire within a few minutes, or soonerProvide full covers for all exposed light bulbs in clothes closet areas. Another easy to correct but hazardous item of the house safety maintenance checklist. Stuffed animals, pillows, plastic and paper bags – you name it – your child can simply pull the chain and forget to turn that closet light bulb OFF…

House safety maintenance #9

House safety maintenance - laundry chute mounted flush with the floor is large enough for a small child to fall throughHouse safety maintenance - laundry chute mounted flush with the floor poses safety hazard for small childrenMake sure that your laundry chute is not within the reach of a small child. I find this item completely neglected in many homes – it’s scary – make sure you check Laundry chute safety.

House safety maintenance #10

Garage fire wall - garage - house entrance door should be self - fully closingInstall self closing device on a door between your home and the garage / make sure it is a solid and fire rated door. This will minimize possibility of carbon monoxide, fire, and smoke penetration of your home – check attached garage firewall.

House safety maintenance #11

Garage door opener safety sensors improperly installed above the opener - at ceiling levelTest the garage door opener auto reverse feature, make sure that the safety sensors are within 6″ from the floor, make sure that the overhead door can be operated easily without the opener – details in garage door opener safety posts.

I hope that you’ll follow this house safety maintenance checklist and that it will make your house a better place.

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