Daylight saving time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, when we set our clocks back an hour. Many of the devices we use to tell time will make that change automatically, but, of course, you’ll have to manually adjust some outliers: wall clocks, clock radios, microwave and stove clocks, car radio clocks, wrist watches, digital cameras and others.
Beyond changing your clocks, though, consider the day an occasion to perform other seasonal home maintenance. Making a connection between daylight saving and some of these important tasks can make a routine out of them, ensuring that they’re not overlooked. Here are a few to consider.
The National Fire Protection Association suggests replacing your smoke and CO alarm batteries twice a year, which is why they also suggest the task coincide with the twice-annual time change. When you make the rounds, consider also testing your units and making sure you have placement right.
Reverse the motor on your ceiling fans so they operate in the clockwise direction and you can enjoy energy savings, says EnergyStar.gov. When the blades run in a clockwise direction, they force warm air that collects near the ceiling down into the living space. This circulated air decreases the demand on your heating system and allows you to lower the thermostat a degree or two and still stay comfortable.
Mattress manufacturers recommend rotating your mattress to minimize wear, but suggestions vary as to how often, and whether to rotate it and/or flip it. MarthaStewart.com offers a handy mattress rotating reminder system you can set in place this daylight saving weekend; then, use a reminder tool to schedule the remaining rotations.
Twice-a-year maintenance, as recommended by Energystar.gov, may help ensure peak performance for your furnace and, perhaps more importantly, potentially help avoid breakdowns this winter. Schedule a professional inspection now, and again when daylight saving kicks in next spring.
In colder climates, water left in exterior pipes can freeze and may cause pipes to burst. Start by draining and disconnecting garden hoses. Then, follow these suggestions from Denver Water: Shut off water flow to the exterior faucet from the main valve (inside many houses), and then open and close the outside tap to release any water still lurking inside the pipe.
Not only do air leaks cause uncomfortable drafts, they may also run up your energy bill. Locate the air leaks in your windows, doors and other areas of your home and seal them with spray foam, caulk or weather stripping. If you don’t know how to do this, read Energy Star’s useful guide for advice.
The U.S. Fire Administration suggests having your chimney inspected annually (along with your wood stove, if you have one). A certified chimney specialist is best qualified to do this, and will perform a visual check of the interior and exterior accessible portions of your chimney, looking for obstructions, basic soundness and soot build-up that are all potential fire hazards.
Many people don’t think about their water heaters — until there’s a problem. Energy.gov suggests draining a quart of water from the tank every three months (check your manufacturer’s directions on how to do this for your unit). It helps remove sediment to promote better heat transfer and improve the efficiency of your unit.
Deciduous trees sometimes need extra love to get through the winter. Colorado State University Extension suggests wrapping their trunks (up to the first branches) with crepe paper, which can help prevent sunscald, a detrimental condition that can occur when intense winter sunlight is absorbed by the tree’s bark.
Originally published October 28, 2013.