The Top 10 Tasks to Complete Your October Home Maintenance Checklist

a blue overlay on a picture of a home in the woods during autumn

Even though Halloween is rapidly approaching, your home doesn’t have to be a scary place (…unless you want it to be).

That’s why we’re coming at you with the top ten tasks on your October home maintenance checklist, so you won’t have to worry about your home. Ten may seem like a lot, but you did nine last month. So you’ve got this. 

1. Celebrate the month

Did you know that October is Fire Safety Month? Yup, the same month we leave candles burning in gourds is also the month we should be learning and practicing fire safety. (Well, we should be doing that all year round – practicing fire safety, that is, though we do love pumpkins.)

There are a few things you can do to honor the month:

A homeowner testing their smoke alarm by pressing a button
Give your smoke alarms some attention.

Check your smoke detectors. C’mon, you knew that one was coming. Go ahead, push that little test button, and make sure the batteries haven’t expired. Also, check your unit. Smoke detectors have a shelf-life of 10 years, and you can find the date of manufacture on the back. If that unit is over 10 years old, it’s time to replace it.

Check your fire extinguishers. Make sure they are where they’re supposed to be (you guessed it – near the kitchen and the fireplace). Check that there is no physical damage, and the pressure gauge is in the green section. Also, see if the unit has expired, and if so, replace it.

a homeowner using a fire extinguisher on a burning pot
Keep your fire extinguisher close.

Make a fire escape plan. Be sure to have two exits from every room (usually a door and a window). Choose a meet-up point outside (like the mailbox near the road), and discuss the plan with your family. Everyone in the home, including children, should know how to get out and where to go.

Clean your dryer vent. Dryer vents are a leading cause of fires in the home, so clean yours annually. If you are uncomfortable cleaning the vent on your own, hire a professional.

Check additional fire safety tips in 11 Home Fire Facts That Will Alarm You.

2. Bust out the vacuum 

Now is the time to vacuum all your radiators and baseboards. You want to make sure they are free of any debris or dust, so when you need that heat, it comes out in the most efficient way possible. (#SaveMoney.)

If you haven’t already had your unit serviced for the fall, call a HVAC professional now

3. Say goodbye to summer for real

a grill on a deck covered with a blue grill tarp
Say good-bye to your grill for the winter.

Cover or store your outdoor furniture and grills. That way, they won’t get damaged from the harsh winter weather, and they’ll be ready for next summer!

If you live in an area where you never have to stop barbecuing, add to your October home maintenance checklist a deep cleaning of your grill. This will help you to prevent a home fire during the fall holidays (and football season)! 

4. Close the tap

a hose connected to an outdoor spigot frozen with ice
Don’t leave a hose attached to an outdoor spigot.

As the cold months approach, you probably won’t be watering plants or washing cars, so it’s time to turn off the water to all your exterior spigots, drain the water, and store your hoses for a long winter’s nap. This is extremely important in areas up north where any water in your outside faucets can expand and break your pipes, leading to expensive water damage.

5. Plan for bad weather

a home in a snowscape with its roof poking up over the snow
Winter is just around the corner.

The Farmer’s Almanac said this winter is going to be a doozy, so make a plan for a blizzard, ice storm, and even just that dreaded Polar Vortex. We have heating maintenance and winter weather guides, but even if you’re not in a place that sees extremely low temperatures, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to the effects of cold weather, such as freezing pipes. (We’re looking at you, Texas.)

6. Time to take a little off the top

On your October home maintenance checklist, be sure to add trimming dead tree limbs away from your home, especially those near your roof. Tree limbs can fall and damage your house, and even those that are touching your roof can cause damage by peeling up shingles or ripping off layers of asphalt.

7. Once the last leaf has fallen – 

orange, gold, and red leaves in a gutter on a home
Don’t leave your leaves in the gutter.

It’s time to clean out your gutters and downspouts. Just wait until most of the leaves have fallen, so you only have to do the job once, unless you enjoy cleaning out your gutters. If you do – clean your gutters more often!

If you live in a place without leaf peeping, you will still want to clean out your gutters of summer debris. This will ensure that your gutters are doing what they’re supposed to do, which is take water away from your home.

If your gutters are too high for you – safety first! Hire a professional for this task!

8. Put your sump pump to the test

an overhead view of a sump pump
Is your sump pump pumping?

Make sure that your sumps are working properly, and if you don’t already have a backup battery, now might be the time to install one. This will help keep your home safe and water-free in case a severe thunderstorm or a freak snowstorm rolls through.

Also, when was the last time your sump pump was inspected or serviced? You might want to call a professional to do that before it breaks down. If you want to avoid unexpected repairs, then consider purchasing a home warranty.

9. Keep your pipes warm

water flowing a copper pipe with frost on it
Prevent a burst pipe.

Did you know your pipes don’t like the cold either? Wrap them up with some self-sealing foam pipe insulation to keep them warm all winter long. This way you can save yourself the heartache of a broken pipe and not to mention the cost.

A good place to start is your AC unit, then any pipes that are on exterior walls, and finally your attic and crawlspace.

Get additional tips to help keep your water flowing with this quick guide, and vipHomeLink also sends you weather notifications with tips for mitigating damage. Know what to do and when to do it with our home management schedule app

10. Winterize your sprinklers

a sprinkler system sprays water onto a lawn with leaves
Save your sprinklers.

This may be the time to call in the professionals and ask for the compressed air blow-out. Don’t worry. They won’t think you’re crazy. This is a way to ensure that all the water has been removed from your sprinkler line, so there is no risk of freezing and ruining your system.

Of course, southern homeowners, your October home maintenance checklist should include inspecting your lines and making sure there aren’t any leaks or grim buildup.

Get additional fall lawn care tips in 7 Super Simple Fall Lawn Care Tips and Secrets That Get Results

Be ready for every season! 

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