When you turn back the clocks this fall, give your house a once-over with this autumn to-do list.
It’s easy to forget important seasonal home maintenance checks. But make them a part of your “spring ahead” and “fall back” routines, and you and your house will be protected against a host of preventable problems.
- Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Switch out old batteries with fresh ones, and then test each detector according to the maker’s instructions.
- Give light fixtures some attention. If you pulled out the ladder to change smoke detector batteries, you might as well use it to check off another task. Remove light globes and clean them to remove dust and bugs. Also consider replacing incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).
- Close off unused rooms. If you have a room in your home that is rarely used, consider closing it off to save money on heating costs this winter (and air conditioning costs next summer). Keep the room at least 55 degrees F, though, to prevent any pipes from freezing, recommends the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.
- Check your meds. Be prepared for seasonal bugs. Toss expired medicines and restock basic over-the-counter items like cough syrups, decongestants, antihistamines, and fever and pain reducers. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any OTC items.
- Whip appliances into shape. The holidays mean more cooking. Get the best performance from your kitchen appliances by cleaning them according to the manufacturer’s directions. Spot problems by using inexpensive oven and fridge/freezer thermometers to check temps.
- Check your furnace filter. A clogged filter can restrict airflow and cause your furnace to run less efficiently. Depending on the type of filter your furnace uses, clean or replace it now—and at least monthly thereafter.
- Reprogram your thermostat. If you have a programmable thermostat, be sure it has been changed from summer to winter settings before you turn the heat on.