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Daylight Saving Time Household To-Do List

Resetting the clocks is a good reminder to focus on these important tasks

spinner image closeup of the hands of holding a clock changing at the beginning daylight saving time
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​When you set your clock forward or back every spring and fall for daylight saving time, many people know it’s important to change the batteries in your smoke detectors too. But you can use these semiannual clock adjustments as a handy reminder to tackle other important tasks around your home.

This year, don’t consider your “fall back” duties done until you’ve checked off these semiannual and annual cleaning and safety steps.​

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1. Change batteries around the house

The well-known “Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries” campaign cemented the importance of checking your home’s smoke detector batteries at least twice a year. Don’t stop there. Also check and replace batteries in each of your home’s digital thermostats and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as any emergency weather radios and battery-powered lanterns or flashlights that may be part of your home emergency preparedness kit.​

2. Schedule a check of the chimney

The end of daylight saving time — which falls on the first Sunday of November — is a perfect time to prep your chimney for winter use. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends inspecting your chimney at least once a year, particularly if you use it frequently. During the inspection, a chimney professional can check for damage and, if needed, clean away soot and creosote buildup — the leading cause of chimney fires.​

3. Replace your filters

You should change the air filter in your HVAC system at least every 90 days — or roughly every three months, recommends Lane Dixon, vice president of operations at Aire Serv, a Neighborly company. If you can’t recall if you’re up to date on your filter upkeep, use the fall time change to get back on track. “Open the return grill register and look at the filter. If it is discolored or dirty, or if it has a lot of dust buildup or pet hair on it, that could mean it needs to be replaced,” Dixon says. The time change is also a perfect opportunity to change out filters on your refrigerator water line or whole-home water filter, both of which should be replaced roughly every six months.​

4. Tidy up your spices

spinner image spice rack of various seasonings
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Get ready for the upcoming holiday cooking and baking season by freshening up your spice stash. “The general rule is, once opened, spices should be changed out every six months,” says Samantha Kennedy, director of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ (UF/IFAS) Wakulla County Extension Office. (Get in the habit of dating your spices when you open a new bottle, so you’ll know when it’s time to toss them.) Kennedy recommends replacing any spices that have become caked or clumpy, even if they’re not yet six months old. “Clumping shows the seal is no longer airtight, so the quality of the spice is going to be affected,” she says.​

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5. Refresh your medicine cabinet

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​Stay in front of cold and flu season by restocking and reorganizing your medicine cabinet each year in sync with the end of daylight saving time. Replace out-of-date, over-the-counter essentials, including decongestants, pain relievers and fever reducers, with new ones. Safely dispose of expired prescription medications at an area drug takeback event, or mix them in coffee grounds or cat litter before placing them in the trash. That makes it less likely they’ll be ingested by someone who comes across them in the garbage. ​

6. Winterize your car

spinner image Close-up of person checking vehicle tire pressure
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Early November is an ideal time to stay ahead of harsh winter road conditions by prepping your winter driving preparedness kit. David Bennett, manager of repair systems for AAA, recommends pulling together basics such as a blanket, hat and gloves, drinking water and snacks, a flashlight, an ice scraper, a small shovel, a bag of kitty litter — to help gain traction — and perhaps even emergency reflective triangles. With these essentials in your trunk, you’ll be well-equipped if you break down or get stuck in snow or icy conditions. Bennett suggests checking the wear and tear on your tires before winter weather sets in since traction suffers when roads are wet or icy. “You want to make sure that you have a minimum of 4/32 of an inch of tread. Anything lower than that, you should look to replace them,” he says. To check your tread count, take a quarter, turn it upside down and place it in your tire groove. “If you can see the top of Washington’s head, it’s probably time for a new set of tires,” Bennett says.​

7. Clean your oven

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Experts recommend cleaning your oven every three to six months. Linking this less-than-fun chore around both yearly time changes will help you avoid falling too far behind schedule. Start by coating your oven racks with a mixture of ½ cup of baking soda and three tablespoons of water. “Let the coated racks sit overnight. Then, wipe them down with vinegar and a damp cloth,” suggests Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority. You can clean the remaining interior oven surfaces with the same baking soda paste or a commercial oven cleaning spray.​

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8. Check for fire hazards

Most home fires happen in the winter. Reduce your home’s risk by searching for — and removing — potential fire hazards as part of your “fall back” routine. Inspect electrical appliances for frayed or damaged electrical cords. Use surge protectors to reduce the load on overburdened outlets. Check that portable home heaters are placed at least 3 feet from fabrics or other flammable materials. As an accompanying, but critical, fire safety step, be sure to practice your family’s fire evacuation plan every six months, as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association. Making a home fire drill part of your twice-annual time change routine is especially key if you have young children or grandchildren living in your home. ​

9. Rotate your mattress

The Sleep Foundation recommends rotating your memory foam or innerspring mattress once or twice per year — making it another chore that’s perfectly timed around the twice-yearly time change. Rotating your mattress can extend its life by reducing wear and tear on a single side. You may even sleep more comfortably, particularly if you switch to a side with little to no wear that can offer better neck and back support. ​

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