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<p>(BPT) - Lived in your home for years? Love your neighborhood? The thought of moving away from your home&rsquo;s comfort, warmth and memories can be unsettling. Instead of moving out, consider updating and remodeling your home to accommodate your future needs.</p><p>Eight-nine percent of Americans 55 and older have embraced this aging-in-place trend, and hope to remain in their own homes for the long-term, according to the <a href="http://www.nahb.org/" rel="nofollow">National Association of Home Builders</a> (NAHB).</p><p>&ldquo;As Americans strive to maintain their independence and stay in their own homes longer, many take on home improvements projects to reduce maintenance while improving accessibility and energy efficiency,&rdquo; says Pella Windows &amp; Doors spokesperson Kathy Krafka Harkema. &ldquo;As they stretch budgets and prepare for retirement, today&rsquo;s savvy homeowners plan home renovation projects with comfort, convenience and ease of maintenance in mind.&rdquo;</p><p>Consider remodeling projects to help enjoy your home longer, more safely and efficiently as you age.</p><p>Home improvement for the long-term</p><p>Most homeowners realize the importance of upkeep and maintenance. A leaky window or drafty door wastes energy and can drive up utility costs.</p><p>To help save energy and money year-round, conduct a home improvement checkup by looking for signs that it&rsquo;s time for potential repairs.</p><p>* Check major systems that help protect the outside of your home - the roof, gutters, siding and exterior finish.</p><p>* Inspect interior components like heating, cooling, chimney and electrical systems.</p><p>* Make sure enough attic insulation is in place to help prevent ice dams.</p><p>* Look for signs of deterioration, damage or potential problems. Replace or repair worn or broken items before they can lead to more extensive or expensive repairs.</p><p>* Check your home&rsquo;s windows and doors. Are there drafts, chips or breaks in the finish, condensation or fogging between panes of glass, or are they hard to open? Any of these signs can mean it&rsquo;s time for replacement.</p><p>* Position storage areas, like shelves, for easy access.</p><p>* Raise appliances, like washers, dryers, dishwashers and stoves, to minimize bending and lifting.</p><p>* Replace old appliances and fixtures with more energy-efficient options, like ENERGY STAR-qualified <a href="http://www.pella.com/windows/product-lines/pella-350-series.aspx" rel="nofollow">Pella 350 Series vinyl windows and patio doors</a>, to help save on future utility bills.</p><p>* Determine whether your home will be ready for your next stage in life by reviewing the <a href="http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/info-07-2011/is-your-home-livable.1.html" rel="nofollow">AARP home livability checklist</a>.</p><p>Window replacement adds light, convenience</p><p>As we become older, our eyes require more light to see. Choose ENERGY STAR-qualified lighting for energy-efficient options. Adding additional windows, or increasing the size of existing window openings can also increase the amount of natural light in a home.</p><p>Replacing heavy curtains and drapes with more sheer options will also allow privacy, without sacrificing natural light.</p><p>Cut the dust</p><p>Pella <a href="http://www.pella.com/windows/product-lines/designer-series.aspx" rel="nofollow">Designer Series</a> windows and doors offer convenient, custom made, between-the-glass options like blinds and shades. Between-the-glass window fashions don&rsquo;t collect dust like traditional room side window treatments, making them a low-maintenance, easy-to-care-for option. Plus, since they&rsquo;re between glass, they&rsquo;re a perfect fit and a safer option for homes with children or pets, since there are no room-side cords.</p><p>Replacing old, hard-to-open windows with new windows and screens makes it easier to open windows to enjoy fresh air. Pella offers easy-to-operate windows in energy-efficient vinyl, wood or fiberglass options in colors, sizes and styles to suit your remodeling and replacement needs.</p><p>Visit <a href="http://www.pella.com/news" rel="nofollow">www.pella.com/news</a> for more info on how to connect with a local representative to talk about your renovation project needs, or shop online at <a href="http://pellaatlowes.com/" rel="nofollow">PellaatLowes.com</a>.</p>

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