When daylight saving time starts and ends, your home health ritual should include more than simply changing your clocks. Twice a year, add the following crucial tasks to your to-do list to help keep your home in tip-top shape.
In 2015, the National Fire Protection Association reported that living in a home with working smoke detectors reduces the risk of dying in a home fire by more than half*. So grab a ladder or step stool and replace the batteries in all home detectors.
Don’t get caught in the dark! Inspect all light bulbs to determine if any look dull and need to be changed, and consider replacing with LED. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer**.
In addition to higher energy bills, air leaks can contribute to moisture problems, potentially affecting the health of residents and the physical home structure, according to the U.S. Department of Energy***. On the outside of the home, check exterior corners, water faucets and where siding meets chimneys. Inside the home, look for leaks at door and window frames, electrical outlets, baseboards, weather-stripping around doors, attic hatches, vents and fans. Click here to see a more detailed list from the U.S. Department of Energy. Caulking or weather-stripping can usually seal leaks.
Clogged gutters can cause rainwater to back up and overflow, possibly causing water damage to your home. Staying on top of this task is likely to save you money in the long run. If you have the means to safely clear the gutters yourself, get to it. Otherwise, hire a handyman or other expert for the job.
Refrigerators have a harder time doing their job when there’s dust on the coils. To help your refrigerator run more efficiently, pull it away from the wall, unplug and turn off the water supply if you have an icemaker. Use a refrigerator-coil brush to loosen the dust and then carefully vacuum with a brush attachment.
You may not think it’s time to change the filter in your heating and cooling system, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look since individual conditions in your home can impact its effectiveness and lifespan. And if you heat your home all winter, your furnace may work harder than usual and could shorten the life of your filter. To perform a quick check, remove your filter and hold it up to an overhead light. If you cannot clearly see light through the filter, plan to change it.