With temperatures starting to cool and the hustle and bustle of summer at an end, autumn is a wonderful time to perform yearly maintenance around your home or that of a senior loved one. For Seniors Helping Seniors® care receivers in the Heartland, cool-season maintenance is especially important, as more extreme winter weather is just a month or two away in many areas throughout the region.
Taking a day or two to inspect key areas of the home (both inside and out) can keep you and your loved one safe and comfortable, in addition to saving money on heating bills and costly emergency repairs. What’s better, most of these fixes don’t require a professional – they can be done with the help of a Seniors Helping Seniors® companion, friend, or family member. Who’s ready to get started?
In-Home Areas To Inspect
Committing to a yearly fall maintenance routine is important in ensuring your home is ready for the cooler months ahead. It will assist in keeping equipment working properly, the air clean, and conditions in the home safe for yourself or an older family member.
Schedule An HVAC Check
After working overtime to keep the house cool during the hot summer months, your HVAC system will benefit from a fall checkup. Being proactive about upkeep makes certain your system works when you need it, like when the temperatures drop.
While most of the items on this list can be done by yourself and a caregiver, this job is one for the professionals. Schedule a time for them to come out and make sure everything is in working order.
Track Down Drafts
Over time, houses develop drafts around doors, windows, and wall joints for a variety of reasons. In addition to leaving you with a chill, unsealed drafts force your heating system to work harder, which can cause your power bill to surge.
Luckily, detecting drafts isn’t difficult. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to feel one simply by standing close to the area where air is getting through. Apply caulking or weatherstripping to seal drafty spots and prevent cool air from creeping in.
TIP: For even more help keeping your home warm, switch the setting on ceiling fans so they rotate clockwise and push warm air down.
Change Air Filters & Clean Air Ducts
Replacing air filters regularly keeps the air in your home clean and fresh, a matter especially important to individuals with respiratory issues. Though filters should be changed more than once a year, making it part of fall maintenance ensures the air in your home is as pure as possible during the coming months, when you’ll likely be spending more time indoors.
Cleaning air ducts is simple as well. Ask your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver for a hand and follow these steps:
- Remove the vent cover, clean off any dust, and set it aside.
- Cover the vent opening, and then knock alongside the ductwork with your hand to loosen the dust inside.
- Use a vacuum to suck up the loose dust and replace the newly cleaned vent cover.
Inspecting your gutters, roof, and pipes helps ensure the outside of your home is in good shape, preventing unwanted surprises in the months ahead. The Seniors Helping Seniors® suggestions below will make sure you hit several key areas.
Clean Gutters & Check Pipes
While fall foliage is beautiful, fallen leaves can also clog your gutters and cause damage if they’re not removed. Cleaning the gutters is straightforward, but these tips will make the job even easier:
- Use an old plastic spatula to remove debris. It won’t scratch or damage gutters and you can cut it to the exact shape needed.
- A toilet snake is the perfect tool for clearing clumps of wet leaves and debris from downspouts.
Though gutter cleaning isn’t tough, it may require a ladder, so be sure to enlist the help of your Seniors Helping Seniors® caregiver or a family member to stay safe!
Once you’ve finished with the gutters, take a few minutes to inspect outdoor pipes for leaks, and add insulation (if needed) before temperatures drop significantly. While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store away until spring to prevent damage.
Inspect The Roof
Before winter, you should also have a professional perform a thorough roof inspection to check for leaks, cracks, or damage. Doing this in autumn will give you plenty of time to fix any issues before the winter season sets in.
Discard Fallen Leaves
If there is one thing autumn is best known for, it’s leaves. It’s important to clear dead leaves from your lawn to keep it healthy and free of disease. Give the following Seniors Helping Seniors® methods a try this season:
- Keep bending and stooping to a minimum by raking leaves onto a tarp and dragging them to a disposal site.
- Shred leaves with a lawn mower, then gather them to use as mulch in flower beds or the garden.
At Seniors Helping Seniors® in-home care services, we know keeping up with home repairs and maintenance is a full-time job. But remember, our caregivers love lending a hand! We strive to give seniors The Gift of Independence® through caring companionship and assistance with daily tasks, fall maintenance included! Now, grab a jacket and let’s get to work!