As summer comes to a close, your home deserves some special attention to prepare for colder temperatures to come. September home maintenance is all about wrapping up the warm and welcoming fall.
In many areas of the country, September brings rain and severe storms with it. So your home maintenance for the month may include cleaning out the gutters, restocking your emergency supplies, and installing storm windows.
Follow through on this list to ensure the most important safety and maintenance tasks don’t fall through the cracks in September.
Greasy doesn’t even begin to cover it when it comes to this major appliance. Your range hood funnels odors and smoke out of your home, and a dirty fan isn’t just unsightly—it’s dangerous. Wipe it down and ensure it’s functional to avoid fire hazards in the kitchen. Plus, a clean kitchen can help improve your home’s air quality.1
Scrub out microwave
Pro tip: go easy on yourself by putting a bowl of water in the microwave and warming it for about a minute. The steam will make it easier to scrub off all those caked-on leftovers.
Clean under the sink
You may store cleaning products in here, but the cabinet under your sink may be anything but squeaky clean. Toss any expired products, old sponges or rags, and wipe down the area to prevent mold. We also recommend checking the pipes for any leaks or clogs while you’re there.
Tighten and lubricate hinges on the fridge
If your fridge has been sounding the alarm every time you open it, it’s probably time to give those hinges a little lubrication.
Bedrooms and living areas
Install or replace outlet covers
Got kids? Then you know the drill. It’s essential to keep outlets covered and safe from little fingers.
Get fireplaces professionally checked and cleaned
Chestnut roasting season may be a couple of months away, but it’s never too early to clean out the fireplace. If you have a fireplace in your home, find a professional chimney sweep service for cleaning and inspection. A clean hearth and fireplace can reduce fire hazards in your home and keep the air clean inside.
Create a safety plan for natural disasters
For many across the country, September is the beginning of hurricane season. For others, wildfires may still be a threat left over from summer. Whatever natural disasters your home is prone to, it’s smart to be prepared for anything. Sit down with your family and create an evacuation plan and gather supplies into an emergency kit for your home.
One look and you’ll understand that you should have done this months ago. Yuck. Give your blinds a good swipe, and you’ll be able to see clearly. At least for now.
Check and replace weather stripping around doors and windows
Keep the cold out (and the heat in) by making sure your weather stripping hasn’t slipped out of place around windows and doors. Replace any worn caulking that leaves gaps, or you’ll find the wind whistling through more than you might like this season.
Clean ceiling fans, light fixtures, and vents
Look up and you’ll find you’ve neglected to clean much of your living space simply because it was out of sight. Give lights, fans, and vents a good dusting before you start circulating heat and spreading dust mites.
Change direction of ceiling fan for winter
Did you know this was a thing? This is a thing.
Once the weather starts to cool, change the direction your fan spins to circulate heat in winter. Refer to the manufacturer’s directions if you’re not sure how to do this on your model.
Get heating system serviced
Don’t wait for fall and winter to check your heating system. Check with professionals in your area for an annual inspection between seasons. They’ll help you with any current cooling issues your home faces and help you prepare for the cold months to come.
Get a 72-hour emergency kit
You never know when disaster might strike, so make sure you’re prepared. Grab a 72-hour survival kit that contains everything you’d need in a pinch and keep it handy.
If you already have an emergency kit, check it for items that need to be replaced or are expired.
Store summer items and replace with fall items
As the temperatures drop, say goodbye to pool supplies, beach towels, and flip-flops and hello to coats and boots and see if you can dig up a pair of mittens.
While uncovering your fall and winter gear, sort out the old and unused items to cut down on the clutter. Create “keep, donate, or trash” piles to stay organized.
Check bathtub caulking
Mildew, hard-water buildup, and age can deteriorate the caulking around your tub, so be ready to replace it to keep things looking fresh and safely sealed.
Consider non-slip surfaces
Accidents happen in and out of the bathroom. Add a grippy mat to your bathtub and replace that rug that slides everywhere to prevent falls in your bathroom.
Dust the handrail
If your home has stairs, dust off the handrail. It’s hard to make your grand entrance with dust all over your hands.
Test the smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detectors
If you live in a place that drops below freezing in the winter, you need to turn your outside water off and winterize your irrigation system. Get on it. Pronto.
Turn off and cover AC unit
At some point this month, you’ll probably crank that AC for the last time. Power it down and cover it to protect the unit from the winter elements.
Install storm windows
If you’ve got them, install ‘em. Lock in those storm windows before the first big nor’easter hits.
Rake leaves and dispose of mulch
It’s tempting to leave all that mess for another time, but your lawn will suffer under the weight of that muck. Remove leaves and mulch from your yard and dispose of it at your local green-waste facility.
Prune plants and trees
Many plants, and especially trees, should be pruned in the fall—so tackle unruly branches and shape shrubs before the first frost.
This is your last chance to spot problems before the snow starts flying, so take a good look and fasten any loose shingles.
Organize the garage for winter and fall
Before the leaves start shedding, dig up your trusty leaf blower and rake. If you have a lawnmower, conduct any seasonal maintenance before putting it away like removing the fuel and other components.
Fertilize your lawn
Before summer’s completely gone, put another healthy dose of fertilizer on your lawn. Your grass will wake up in the spring and thank you.
Clear the last of the debris from those gutters to make them ready for runoff from approaching storms. Clogged gutters in the winter can result in ice dams that’ll damage the exterior of your home.
Drain and store garden hoses
Your hoses will last longer if you care for and store them properly along with your other garden tools. Just don’t forget to drain the water first. Or get a nice, icy cold surprise when you wind them up. Either way—your choice.
Touch up exterior paint
Walk around the perimeter of your home and give any unsightly spots a touch-up. It’ll be your last chance to put on a good face before the holidays.
If you’re afraid you’ll fail to get a handle on your fall tasks, schedule one per week on your calendar so September doesn’t get away from you.
Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more