Daylight Saving Time officially begins this weekend, in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 14. Clocks will be rolled forward an hour, which means, for next new months, the sun will be rising later in the morning and the daylight will stretch later into the evening.
Of course, while we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, the usual argument for ending Daylight Saving Time during the winter months—we don’t like kids heading off to school in the dark—don’t feel nearly as relevant, with many kids still learning remotely. But it’s too late to do much about that. Daylight Saving Time is here, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
But while you definitely want to make sure to set those clocks forward before you head to bed on Saturday, Daylight Saving Time is also a good time to remind yourself to do a handful of other maintenance jobs around your home as well. While you’re going around manually changing your clocks, take care of a few other essential tasks you may have been putting off.
Put fresh batteries in your smoke alarms
You know how your smoke alarm always ends up running out of battery in the middle of the night? (Usually during a night when you you really needed to get some sleep?) Save yourself the future hassle and use Daylight Saving Time as an opportunity to check to make sure your smoke detectors are working and pop in a fresh set of batteries.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, two-thirds of all fire deaths happen in homes where the smoke alarms aren’t working (or aren’t even there in the first place). Use Daylight Saving Time as your reminder to check on yours.
Reverse your ceiling fans
Ceiling fans can spin in two different directions. In the summer, you want the fan’s blade to spin counter-clockwise, which pushes air down. In the winter, it’s better for your fan to spin clockwise, which will pull the cold air up.
Daylight Saving Time is a great time for you to take a few minutes to dust those fan blades and, while you’re cleaning, to flip the switch on the side to reverse the blades.
Replace your air filters
Your furnace has been working all winter to keep you warm, but it’s probably not done yet. Use Daylight Saving Time as an opportunity to check on your air filters.
If you haven’t swapped them out in a while, they’re likely full of dust, which can be a fire hazard at worst and, at best, is going to prevent your heat from working as well as it could.
Check your gutters
You know when you don’t want to have to clean your gutters? In the middle of a spring rainstorm. Hop up on a ladder this weekend and check out your current gutter situation (or make an appointment for someone else to do so). Cleaning out all those dead leaves and debris could save you a costly roof repair bill later. Save yourself the hassle by planning ahead.
Restock your emergency kit
Everyone should have an emergency kit handy with some non-perishable food and first-aid supplies ready in the event of an earthquake, a hurricane, or another disaster.
Use Daylight Saving Time to make sure your home emergency kit is fully stocked. If you ended up breaking into your stash during this past winter’s ice storms and floods, for example, you’ll want to make sure you’ve replaced everything you’ve used so you’re prepared for the next disaster. (Now is also a good time to swap out your stockpile of canned goods for some that are a little fresher.)
This post was originally published in November 2018 and updated on March 11, 2021 with current context.