9 Tasks to Complete When Daylight Saving Time Ends
When daylight saving time ends, many areas turn the clocks back an hour at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November. Beyond changing your clocks and enjoying the extra hour of sleep, the end of daylight saving time is also a good reminder to perform seasonal home maintenance tasks. Here are a few to-dos to consider.
1. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends testing your smoke detectors once a month and replacing the batteries at least once a year. If your carbon monoxide alarms are separate from your smoke alarm, check those as well and change the batteries if necessary. This is also a good time to consider if you have placed the detectors appropriately and if they need to be replaced, which the NFPA says you should do every 10 years.
2. Reverse Ceiling Fans
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. Circulating the air this way helps decrease the demand on your heating system, and it may allow you to lower the thermostat a degree or two while remaining comfortable.
3. Flip or Rotate Your Mattress
To help prevent your mattress from wearing unevenly, it’s a good idea to rotate and, in some cases, flip it regularly. The National Sleep Foundation recommends rotating mattresses every three months to help prevent lumps. Newer mattresses often have a cushioned top, which means they typically shouldn’t be flipped. If your mattress does not have a side like this, however, you should flip it over regularly. The National Sleep Foundation also recommends rotating your box spring every six months — which makes the beginning and end of daylight saving time a great reminder to tackle these tasks.
4. Have Your Furnace Inspected
Having your furnace inspected and cleaned once a year, as recommended by EnergyStar.gov, may help ensure that your heating equipment runs safely and efficiently. Routine maintenance may also help prevent a breakdown during the winter. Schedule a professional inspection now, and remember to change the furnace filter regularly.
5. Prepare Trees for the Winter
Trees and shrubs sometimes need extra love to get through the winter — especially trees that drop their leaves each year. Start by watering the trees thoroughly from the trunk to the length of the longest branch, says the Colorado State Forest Service. For trees with thin bark, such as maple and linden trees, use tree wrap to help protect them against the harsh winter temperatures. The Colorado State Forest Service also recommends putting 2 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the tree. You can use any organic mulch that is appropriate for the area where you live, such as wood chips, bark or even fallen leaves.
6. Turn Off Exterior Faucets
In colder climates, water left in exterior pipes can freeze and may cause pipes to burst. Before the weather turns cold, drain and disconnect garden hoses. Then, if your faucet has a shutoff valve, The Family Handyman says you should turn it off (these valves are usually inside the house). Next, open and close the outside tap to release any water that is still inside the pipe. The Family Handyman also recommends covering exterior faucets with an insulated cover to help prevent freezing during the winter.
7. Seal Air Leaks
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 weatherstripping. EnergyStar.gov provides helpful information on locating, sealing and insulating common air leaks so you can save money on heating costs this winter.
8. Have Your Chimney Inspected and Cleaned
The U.S. Fire Administration recommends having your chimney inspected and cleaned 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 of your chimney. They will look for obstructions, issues with the basic structure and soot buildup, which are all potential fire hazards.
9. Drain Your Water Heater
Many people don’t think about their water heaters until there’s a problem. It’s a good idea to drain your water heater once a year, according to BobVila.com. Doing so can help remove sediment that can cause clogs and prevents the water heater from running efficiently. Check your manufacturer’s directions on how to drain your water heater or contact a professional for help.
Remembering to complete these fall maintenance tasks when daylight saving time comes to an end can help ensure your home is ready for winter. From changing the direction of your ceiling fans to turning off any outdoor faucets, handling these chores can help you be more comfortable and safer this winter.
Originally published October 1, 2014.