5 Things You REALLY Should Do Twice a Year in Order to Make Your Home a Safer Place

updated Nov 21, 2019
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Home maintenance efforts with a visible result are, if not exactly fun, at least rewarding. Even cleaning the bathroom feels good when the mirror sparkles and the toilet shines. Because it’s easy to see the effects of doing them (or not doing them), these tasks are hard to ignore.

But there’s another category of more boring home maintenance chores that aren’t seen and are too easily forgotten. The impact of not doing them, however, can cause harm in the way un-dusted baseboards never could.

Here is a twice-a-year list of home maintenance tasks to check off, all in one place, to make sure your home is not only clean, but safe. Get them done now, and mark your calendar again in the spring.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

1. Check your fire alarm and carbon monoxide detectors.

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly by pushing the test button. Batteries should be replaced once or twice a year, and entire smoke detectors should be replaced with new ones when they are 10 years old. Carbon monoxide detectors need to be replaced with new ones at least every seven years. You can find the date printed on the detector.

2. Get your dryer vent cleaned.

Clogged dryer vents are the leading cause of house fires caused by washers or dryers. You can clean dryer vents yourself, but having it done professionally (if you’re able) may be best for peace of mind that it’s been done correctly and everything is in safe working order.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Sharpen your knives.

Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones. Test your knives to make sure they’re sharp enough. (If you think you know because you use them to cook dinner every night, it’s actually really easy to overlook a dull knife. Testing it is best.) Sharpen as needed.

4. Check refrigerator water dispenser filters.

Over-used drinking water filters can harbor fungus, mold, and bacteria. And clogged filters don’t work to remove contaminants from your drinking water like you expect them to. Most manufacturers recommend changing your in-fridge water dispenser filters every six months.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

5. Clean refrigerator coils.

Refrigerator coils can become clogged with dust and debris, posing a potential fire hazard. Some newer refrigerators don’t have coils, but if yours does, here are instructions for how to clean them.  

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The Twice-a-Year Checklist that Will Keep You Safe at Home