Leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, and Northwesterners are enjoying one of the best times of year, Autumn.
This season signals that winter is approaching and a good time to begin winterizing your home. Don’t get caught with a faulty furnace or leaky outdoor hose bib in the chill of December. Here are some steps to start preparing:
De-clutter – This is a mantra you will hear from me regularly. Optimally, nothing should be left on the floor that could be tripped over. Put away rakes, shovels and garden hoses in a safe place, out of high-traffic routes. If you have a dedicated area for organized storage, make sure that everything is in its place. If you don’t have a designated space, consider ways to create a convenient and orderly place for your tools. There are a variety of storage solutions available, you are bound to find one that fits your needs.
Check batteries – Test batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Many are wired into the electrical service, and use batteries as back-up. I replace ours annually.
Working flashlights are important in case of power outages. Check that the batteries are fresh, and replacements are readily available. There should be a flashlight in the kitchen, any high traffic areas, and bedrooms. This GE 3-1 Flashlight / Nightlight / Emergency light is rechargeable.
Furnace filters – When was the last time you changed your furnace filter? Many manufacturers recommend every 1 to 6 months, depending on variables like the amount of dust and pollen nearby, the number of pets you have, and whether there are smokers living in your home. A dirty filter will make your furnace work inefficiently, cost you money, and could shut the system down entirely. New filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to change.
Check to make sure that all the floor and ceiling vents are clean as well. It’s good to make sure your furnace or heat system is working properly before the temperature drops, and the repair companies are busy.
Clean exterior entries – Make sure that your entry, steps, and walkways are clean and clear of debris. Leaves and darker skies can hide dirt and slippery spots. Check to see that the address numbers on your house can be seen clearly from the street.
Your home’s safety is important to your health. These steps are a good way to start preparing for winter. If you have a friend or loved one that may need help to do some of these, find a way to support their safety. If you don’t live in their area, find out if they use a handyman service or contact one from a resource like Angie’s list.
Stay safe, warm and enjoy our beautiful September.
Aging in Place by Design
Susie is a consultant for Aging in Place. Contact her if you have questions about adding safety and comfort solutions to your home.