September Maintenance Checklist

Mid-September is as late as it gets for thinking about Summer, but not the earliest it gets for thinking about Autumn! As this is the most popular season for visitors coming into the Smoky Mountain National Park, locals typically begin getting maintenance organized for their properties to prepare for the upcoming seasonal change, both to account for the visitor traffic and the weather changes that are often a sharp difference from the previous thunderstorm-filled Summers.

If you’re reading this blog post, it means you came here looking for some ideas of what you might need to do to keep your Smoky Mountain properties in good living condition between these late-year months. A September maintenance checklist is what you need. The following is a simplified version of the maintenance checklist most of us that live in the Smokies make once the calendar flips to September.

1. Lower The Thermostat.
Consider it a celebration that we won’t be seeing 90 degree weather again for quite some time! September is still rather hot (it IS still Summer for most of the month, after all) but we also start seeing some dramatic temperature drops. The day this post was written, it was a high of 73 degrees and 55 degrees at night. HVAC costs are among the biggest contributors to energy bills, so September is when you want to start watching the thermostat again and make adjustments.

2. Clean Out The Gutters.
Leaves start falling by this time of the year and gutter work is among the most neglected outdoor chores we get after weeks and weeks of hot temperatures and storms that could arrive at any moment. The leaves trap the moisture and other undesirable elements in the gutters which can accumulate mold, stagnant water for bugs to breed in, and can weaken over time with the additional weight it holds for long periods of time. The weather will be pleasant for a bit, so this is the time to take care of things like that.

3. Check Under The House For Openings.
Things like lattice under the deck coming loose, screen being torn or even just foundation wear can produce new under-house openings for pests and animals to get into. Again, September produces some of the most optimal temperatures outside, so using this time to do the least desirable of outdoor chores is the best use of that time. You’ll want to get any openings secured before the temperature drops further in October and animals seeking warmer places to hide out choose your property to live, or die, or give birth at.

4. Replace The Air Filter.
One of the things we tend to neglect the most is the air filter of the house, and this is always a good opportunity to remind people to change their air filters! After Summer’s full bloom of flora that can produce pollen and other allergens for many, not changing the air filter in your house means those pollens and allergens left over from Summer will still be lingering around the air. Wipe down the main traffic areas of your property and then replace the air filter for a major improvement in the

5. Prepare The Lawn For The Coming Spring.
Especially for those who are looking to sell their property in the next year, we recommend using late-Summer/early-Autumn as the time to get lawn preparations done before it gets cold and the ground, much of which is red clay here in the Smokies, becomes too difficult to deal with. Aerating, fertilizing, weed-eating, fixing concrete, fixing gravel, fixing the ditch so the water drains off the property correctly, etc. are all things we recommend doing in September and October to get lawns looking good by the coming Spring.

6. Trim Trees and Hedges.
Should be self-explanatory and most of us do these things in Summer as well, but many of us also get held up by the things Summer demands of us as we live in the Smoky Mountains and can forget to provide adequate maintenance. Why do maintenance for these items each year? Because Smoky Mountain foliage gets THICK and can block out the sun from drying up stagnant rain from the Summer’s many storms (not to mention all the spiders and spiderwebs that accumulate from them and may provide a nuisance to the outside or even inside of the property).

Once Autumn starts, the tree and hedge growth slow down and cease until early-to-mid April, so get those trimming shears out and enjoy 6 months of clean, tight foliage as the reward for your effort.

7. Check And Clean The Chimney Flue.
Even a chimney that does not burn over the Summer still accumulates undesirable elements from outside. Dust, remaining soot from previous seasons and pests of any kind can be found in chimney flues. In the same breath talking about removing allergens and keeping the property looking, feeling and smelling nice, a clean chimney flue can be essential towards that end.

8. Check And Replace Any Weather Stripping.
Finally, we heavily recommend you check all your doors and windows for weather stripping that has come loose and needs to be fixed or replaced over the year. It’s not quite so bad or noticeable in the Smokies during the Summer when an air-conditioned house gets warmer due to some weather stripping coming unsealed, but during the Winter when it gets cold and stays cold for more than 1/3rd of the year, a house that pays more to heat up and lose that heat rapidly is a costly irritation and could, under certain circumstances, be dangerous. A little bit of maintenance here can go a long way!