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September 18, 2013

Independent Living: 6 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall

It’'s difficult to imagine, but another summer is already coming to a close. The start of fall brings anticipation of fun outdoor activities, but for older adults living independently, Fall’'s beginning also signifies it’'s time to prepare the home for colder, damper weather.

Ready to prepare your home for fall, but not sure where to start? Use the below checklist as a guide!

  1. Clear Out the Gutters: Break out your trusty ladder to clean the gutters and drain pipes before leaves have a chance to clog them, Bob Vila says. If you live in Northeast Ohio or other area with cold winters, drain any outdoor faucets to prevent pipes from freezing.
  2. Clean the Fireplace: Clean your fireplace of ash and charred wood and check the chimney for loose or missing mortar. You may also want to consider having your entire chimney professionally cleaned. If you do bring in the professionals, be sure to ask them to check the damper to ensure it’'s tightly closed to prevent drafts.
  3. Check the Heating System: Reader’'s Digest suggests surveying your home’'s heating vents to make sure they'’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or curtains. During your survey, note potential falling hazards, such as loose rugs, to correct when your outdoor fall preparations are complete. Also dust heating vents, clean filters, and schedule an appointment for a heating system check-up.
  4. Store Air Conditioners: Air conditioners are not made to withstand constant exposure to external temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to airtemp.com. To store your window A.C. units properly, dust and clean them, then return them to their original packaging.  Store them upright in a dry room to prevent oil or lubricant leakage or rusting.
  5. Seal Drafty Doors and Windows: Were your heating bills unusually high last fall? Drafty doors or windows may be to blame. According to How Stuff Works, there are many different options for sealing drafts. For windows, heavy curtains will often contain drafts; however, older houses may require caulking or weather stripping. Energy-efficient windows are also an option. For doors, installing a door sweep to the bottom of the door can keep drafts out as can replacing a screen door with a storm door.
  6. Drain the Hot Water Heater: Few things seem quite as bad as a cold shower on a chilly fall morning. Ensure your hot water heater is ready for the season by draining it and clearing any sediment from the bottom of the tank.

With so many fall outdoor activities to enjoy, the last way you want to start the season is with an injury. If you are unable to perform some or all of these tasks, don’'t hesitate to hire professionals or ask relatives for assistance.

If you are a Kendal at Home member, you can speak with your care coordinator to schedule a preventative home maintenance evaluation to help you complete your seasonal home preparations. If any issues are found, your care coordinator will help connect you with SFG Home Management, a company that offers property maintenance solutions, to help complete repairs.

Want more independent living tips for older adults? Download “11 Ways to Age Successfully at Home” today!

Photo Credit: Sharon Mollerus

Remain Independent


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