The twice annual shift to and from daylight saving time is a good time to make sure your house, garden and car are well-maintained.
Here is a handy checklist to make sure you’re ready for the upcoming change in season:
1. Replace the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
More than 360,000 fires occur in homes every year, and only 42% of homes have a working carbon monoxide detector. To keep your family safe, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year. Also be sure to test the alarms monthly.
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2. Check your furnace and water heater
You never want to be without heat or hot water. To make sure your family doesn’t find itself in that situation, have a professional inspect your furnace and water heater when daylight saving time ends in the fall. This will help reduce the chances of your heating system malfunctioning during the chilly fall and winter months.
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3. Change your air filter
While air filters should be checked monthly, daylight saving time can a good time to remind ourselves to check the filters and see if they need to be replaced. Regularly replacing air filters will help make sure the air circulating throughout your home is clean. Plus, swapping them out can help extend the life of your furnace.
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4. Reverse your ceiling fans
Apart from helping air circulate throughout a room, ceiling fans can also affect the temperature of a room, depending on the direction it turns. A fan turning clockwise pulls cool air upward to the ceiling, which helps disperses the warm air trapped near the ceiling. A fan turning counterclockwise pushes cooler air downward. You can adjust these settings by flipping a switch on the ceiling fan while the fan is turned off.
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5. Clean and swap out your drapes and curtains
Dust collects on drapes and curtains, so be sure to clean them at least twice a year by either vacuuming them or throwing them in the washer. Also consider replacing heavy curtains in the spring with lighter ones to increase air flow during warmer months. In the fall, bring the heavier curtains back out to help retain heat in your home during cooler months.
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6. Clean your dryer filter and vent
An estimated 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year, and the leading cause of those fires is a failure to clean the dryer filter and dryer vent. To keep them clean and prevent a fire hazard, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months. Also be sure to clean the lint out of the dryer vent at least every three months, and remove lint from the lint filter after each load of laundry.
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7. Clean your gutters
Dirty, clogged-up gutters can create a number of problems for your home. They can cause roof leaks, lead to water damage inside and outside of your home and harbor rodents, insects and mold. By cleaning out your gutter twice a year – when daylight saving time starts in the spring and ends in the fall – these problems can be averted.
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8. Take care of your yard and plants
When daylight saving time ends in the fall, your lawn and garden should be prepared for the cold winter months. Fallen leaves should be removed from the yard, as allowing them to remain piled up may kill your grass by depriving it of sunlight and oxygen. Remove dead shrubs and remove and kill weeds from your garden. Also, lay down mulch in your garden to help insulate the plants.
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9. Prepare your car
Maintaining your car will not only ensure that your vehicle will run smoothly, but it will also make sure that you are safe. Some maintenance tips to keep in mind leading up to winter include servicing the radiator system, checking the antifreeze level and making sure the heater is working properly. Some tips leading up to summer, include checking your tires, replacing windshield wipers and making sure the air conditioner is working properly.
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10. Check your emergency kit
An emergency kit contains food, water and other emergency supplies that can help your family survive a power outage and other crises for several days. Daylight saving time is a good time to take stock of what is in your emergency, such as making sure you haven’t run out of items, checking the expiration dates on food items and the quality of batteries in flashlights.
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