Consumer Tips

Time-Change Checklist

When you turn back your clocks this fall, give your house a once-over with this autumn to-do list.

It's easy to forget regular home maintenance checks. So make them a part of your fall time-change routine to help protect your family and home from a host of preventable problems.

  • Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
    Then, test each according to the maker's instructions.
  • Give light fixtures some attention.
    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.
    Doing so could help save money on heating costs during winter and air conditioning costs in the summer. suggests keeping the rooms at least 55 degrees F, though, to prevent any pipes from freezing.
  • Check your meds.
    Get rid of expired medicines — but before you throw them in the trash, research safe, responsible disposal methods for each medication. Restock basic over-the-counter items like cough syrups, decongestants, antihistamines, and fever and pain reducers.
  • Tune up appliances.
    Get the best performance from your kitchen appliances by cleaning them according to the manufacturer’s directions. Use inexpensive oven and fridge/freezer thermometers to check temps and spot problems.
  • Check your furnace filter.
    A clogged air filter can restrict airflow and increase energy consumption between 5 and 15 percent. Depending on the type of filter your furnace uses, clean or replace it now — and at least monthly thereafter.
  • Reprogram your thermostat.
    Be sure to change it from summer to winter settings before you turn the heat on (and vice versa).

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