Love it or hate it, Daylight Saving Time 2021 is about to come to an end on Sunday, Nov. 7, and that means you get to set the clock back and grab an extra hour of sleep (assuming that your internal clock will comply).
If you’re a homeowner, it also means that you need to turn your attention to some basic maintenance tasks. If you tie these tasks to the end of Daylight Saving Time, it will quickly become a seasonal habit that will keep your property in shape and prevent major problems from year to year.
Here’s our list of the top 11 things every homeowner should do at this time of the year:
1. Turn All the Clocks Back One Hour Before You Go to Bed
This may seem pretty obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people forget it — simply because they’re used to looking at computers, televisions, cellular phones, and tablets that all do the job automatically.
Homeowners need to check the clock on the stove, the microwave, the pre-programmable coffee pot, the clock in the car, the timer on the heating system, the timer on your outdoor lighting system, the clock on your security system cameras, and any wall clocks. That way, your house will keep running (dare we say it?) like clockwork.
2. Check Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
A fire or a carbon monoxide leak in your home can be devastating to your family, and early-warning systems are essential to avoid serious injury or a loss of life. Weak batteries can cause delayed reactions in both types of alarms — and dead batteries make them useless.
This is a great time of year to change the batteries in all of your alarms and detectors, especially with the holiday season (and all those scented candles) approaching.
3. Flip (or Reverse) All the Mattresses in the Household
You spend roughly ⅓ of your life in bed, so you want your mattress to remain cozy and comfortable as long as possible. Flipping or rotating a mattress annually can help prevent lumps and rolls in the surface of the mattress and prolong its life.
If you have a regular spring mattress, give it a full flip. If you have a pillow-top mattress or memory foam, just rotating it 180 degrees should do the trick.
4. Clean the Fridge, Coffee Machine and Oven
The holidays are coming, so you want these essential kitchen appliances to be in tip-top shape. A drip coffee maker can be cleaned with white vinegar and water, but even Keurig-style machines need a little TLC once in a while.
Turn on the “self-cleaning” option to make cleaning the oven easy, and pull everything out of the fridge and freezer so that you can discard aging condiments, any “mystery” frozen items, and stuff that’s unlikely to ever be eaten. This will also clear up some room for all that holiday baking.
5. Clear the HVAC Vents and Your Furnace Filters
You’ve probably already packed the A/C unit away for the season, but have you given your furnace filters and air vents a thought?
It’s a good time to change the filters out, dust the heating vents and consider hiring a service to make sure that your furnace as a whole is in good shape for the winter. That can prevent an unpleasant surprise on a cold night when the furnace suddenly breaks down.
6. Reverse the Ceiling Fans
This seems so simple that it can hardly be worthwhile — but EnergyStar.gov says that it really is effective at keeping the home warmer (and that translates into less energy use and more savings for you).
In the summer, fans should run counterclockwise so that you feel a breeze. In the winter, you can reverse their direction and the clockwise motion produces a slight updraft that helps move the warm air that’s drifted up toward your ceiling back down where you can feel it.
7. Restock the Family Emergency Kit
Winter weather can be unpredictable, and you could suddenly find yourself snowed in or suffering an extended power loss. It’s wise to have an emergency kit in place.
Stock up on water, shelf-stable and canned food, batteries, flashlights, basic first-aid supplies (antibacterial creams, bandages, gauze, ibuprofen, and so on), plastic sheeting, duct tape, and anything else you may need in a pinch for a few days.
8. Have Your Chimney Inspected and Cleaned
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more fires happen in winter than any other time of the year — and that’s directly related to efforts to stay warm.
If you have a chimney and plan to use it, get a certified chimney specialist to check it for safety and make sure it’s free of excess soot that could cause a fire.
9. Turn Off the Exterior Faucets
If you haven’t already done this, disconnect your hoses and drain the exterior faucets. (Turn off the shutoff valves inside the home, first.)
You may also want to use insulated covers on the exterior faucets to give them a little extra protection from the cold.
10. Prep Your Trees and Shrubs for the Winter Cold
Did you add any new trees and shrubs to your landscape this year? Do you have some rather delicate plants, like rose bushes, in your yard? They may need a little extra help to survive mid-winter’s deep freeze.
Add mulch liberally around the base of any of the trees or shrubs you want to protect (both for water retention and insulation from the cold), and consider using tree wraps to protect any vulnerable saplings. Burlap and twine can also be used to wrap young shrubs for additional protection from the weather.
11. Seal Off Any Air Leaks Around Windows and Doors
Finally, you need to address air leaks that can leave sections of your home unreasonably chilly and waste energy. Plastic sheeting, duct tape, weatherstripping, and caulk are all your friends throughout this process.
Remember: Everything you do today is one fewer task that has to be done later, and it won’t be long before you’re busy with the holiday season. Make this your “do it and forget it” list — until next year rolls around!