An End-of-Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

With temperatures in the Pacific Northwest still hitting the 80s, it’s hard to accept that summer is almost over. Nevertheless, September is almost upon us. With it comes rain and cooler temperatures, so now is a great time to go over your home maintenance needs while the weather is still sunny.

Get Your Chimney Ready

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure to get your chimney cleaned. It is recommended to clean your chimney once per year to help prevent build-up of dangerous substances that can cause a house fire or damage to the chimney itself. It is of the utmost importance that this job is done by a professional chimney sweep; the task is too important to leave to the weekend warrior.

Service the Air Conditioner

Remove any plant material within two feet of your air conditioning unit so that there is proper airflow. Turn the power off first, then remove any debris that may have fallen inside the unit. Fins can be repaired with a butter knife, but be gentle. They are fragile.

Check Your Water Heater

Give your water heater a good, long look to check for any damage or leaks. Drain some of the tank to remove small bits of debris and sediment that have collected there. These can damage the inside of your water heater over time. Make sure there is a clearance of two feet all around the water heater and adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Change the Furnace Air Filter

This one only takes a moment and is important to do every few months if you have a forced-air furnace. Filters can be purchased at any good hardware and home improvement store. Make sure to get the right size for your furnace.

Sweep & Scrub Your Deck

All that time enjoying your outdoor fireplace may mean a lot of time on your deck. Take the time to sweep and clean your deck thoroughly. This not only makes it look nice, but also lengthens the life of the wood on your deck and helps prevent dirt being tracked into your home.

Clean and Protect Outdoor Furniture

Your patio furniture needs to be cleaned just the same as your indoor furniture, so don’t forget this step! Depending on what your favorite Adirondack chair or patio dining set is made of, hose down or polish each piece. Tighten any loose bolts to make sure everyone has a safe seat. If you plan to store your outdoor furniture outside, cover it after cleaning. No worries if you don’t have manufacturer-issued covers—a well-secured tarp will do.

Empty the Gutters

The dry season we see in the summer from Seattle to Portland means our gutters aren’t getting much of a workout, so you may think cleaning them now is counter-intuitive. We still have plenty of wind—not to mention poor air quality from wildfires—and thus plenty of chances for leaves and debris to settle in your home’s gutters. Without much rain, nothing is washing that out, either, so get on a ladder and clean them out! You’ll be glad you did when the first heavy rain of fall comes down.

Hose Down Outdoor Trash Bins

And your recycling and compost bins, too! Gentle dish soap and water is the safest way to go when cleaning your outdoor trash bins. Giving the bins a good scrubbing and hosing is a good practice to keep rodents and other pests away from your curb during the colder months.

Test the Heat

On the first chilly day of the season, the last thing you want to find out is that your heat won’t come on. Turn your heat on now to test it and make sure it’s functioning correctly. If it’s not, you have some time to get it repaired before the big chill.

Taking steps to clean and maintain your home before the rain and colder weather come is a great way to prevent the stress of a sudden emergency caused by lax home care.

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