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  • Writer's pictureMike Roberts

Checklist: September To-Dos for Homeowners

With summer winding down and fall temperatures on the horizon, September is a pivotal month for homeowners who want to keep their most valuable investment in tip-top shape. Here’s what needs to be done as summer heat transitions to autumn cool.

Special Note: Contractor’s Covid-19 Safety Measures

When you set up a service contractor visit during the COVID-19 pandemic, ask about the contractor’s hygiene and safety protocols for working in your home. In cases where you have a choice of contractors, such as for plumbing, electrical, or HVAC, choose the one with the best safety practices in addition to a reputation for excellent service. Even where you don’t have a choice of who you deal with, such as when your cable or telephone stops working, you should still inquire about hygiene practices.

Furnace Maintenance

Make that call to a reputable heating and cooling specialist to schedule a fall checkup. It’s well worth the investment to keep your system running smoothly. (Many companies offer an annual package deal that includes the fall check along with a similar spring tune-up of the air conditioning unit.) The pros will make sure the furnace burner is clean and working properly, check the heat exchanger for cracks, see that the air handler is blowing smoothly, and ensure that ductwork isn’t leaking.

Inspect Weather Stripping

Nothing spoils a cozy fire in winter than a cold draft coming from windows and doors. Inspect the weather stripping and caulking around all openings and replace any that are worn or cracked. This is especially important in older homes. Do it yourself or call in a professional, depending on your level of expertise.

Fireplace Safety

Before lighting that first blaze of the season, schedule a fireplace inspection by a certified chimney sweep. Creosote is a highly flammable chemical that builds up inside chimneys so periodic cleanings are a must. If you use gas logs, the connections and burners need an inspection. On the roof, it’s wise to check the integrity of the seals around chimneys. If your chimney doesn’t have a cap, consider adding one to keep wild animals from taking refuge in your chimney.

Roof Inspection

Besides checking the flashing around the chimney, the roof should be inspected, especially in places where snow tends to collect in drifts. Also, check for worn seals around vent pipes. If scaling roofs are outside your comfort zone, hire a licensed and insured contractor to do this job. While they’re up there, ask them to sweep leaves, small branches, and debris from valleys and behind the chimney.

September Gutter Cleaning

Once the leaves have fallen for the season, gutters and downspouts should be cleaned. Be sure that water flows freely through downspouts. Do it yourself or call in the pros, depending on your level of expertise.

Trim Trees Near the House and Roof

Trim nearby tree limbs that may have encroached on your roof over the summer. Trimming in September will prevent potential damage during fall and winter storms.

Winterize Landscape

It’s time to replace or add to a three to four-inch layer of mulch in your flowerbeds. Good mulch acts as a blanket to protect plant roots from temperature extremes like those cold winter nights ahead. It also preserves precious moisture in the soil.

Clean-up and Stow

The colder the climate, the sooner you’ll want to prepare your outdoor living space for the fall and winter. Spend a final sunny day giving the grill a good cleaning. Remove the propane tank and store it properly. Make sure the grill is covered. Store or cover outdoor furniture. Drain and roll up hoses, storing them out of the cold. Wrap outdoor faucets with thick insulating foam covers. In warmer climates, this chore can wait until October or even into November.

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