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At Home

Daylight Saving Time Reminders: Tasks to Tackle When You Change the Clocks

Daylight saving time provides a handy built-in reminder to take care of certain tasks around your home. This spring-forward, fall-back time change coincides nicely with a fall and spring cleaning schedule. To help you stay on top of routine home maintenance, we've created this simple checklist for you.

Focus on your fridge. To keep your refrigerator running efficiently, it needs a thorough cleaning twice a year. The following tips give you a top-to-bottom and front-to-back starting place.

  • Check for freshness. While you're pulling items out of your fridge, check expiration dates and toss accordingly.
  • Pull out drawers and shelves. Hand wash all drawers and shelves with warm water and dish soap. Dry them with a fluffy towel or let them air dry while you focus on the rest of the fridge.
  • Wipe down the interior. Vinegar is a great cleaning agent that works well at removing stubborn sticky spots without being caustic or causing damage.
  • Do a deep clean. Your refrigerator will work better and last longer if you clean the condenser coils, wipe down the gasket around the door and defrost your freezer. It takes some effort but it's worth it.

Go through all cupboards and pantries. Go beyond throwing away expired foods in your fridge and check other edible items with expiration dates. The kitchen is a great starting place, but don't forget about the bathrooms, your medicine cabinet and your makeup. If find old medications, the FDA has recommendations on drug disposal or you can ask your pharmacist how to get rid of them.

Clean your oven. Self-cleaning ovens make this chore a breeze. Daylight saving time changes are typically the perfect time of year to clean your oven — because you can open windows and air out your kitchen. If you don't have a self-cleaning model, try using a fumeless product. Just make sure you follow the product guidelines and protect yourself before you start scrubbing.

Move your mattress. If you've got a pillow-top mattress, rotate it for even wear. If you sleep on a traditional mattress, give it a flip for a longer lifespan and greater comfort.

Wash your pillows. Dirt accumulates in your pillows. Give them a thorough washing twice a year to restore that fresh feeling. While the washing instructions on the pillow are the best place to start, we've got some extra tips that'll help you get great results.

  • Make a pillow burrito. Roll your pillows lengthwise and then secure the ends and the middle with a big rubber band. This minimizes clumping in the wash cycle.
  • Use the buddy system. Put two pillows in the washer at a time to even the load. If your washer can handle four, feel free to give it a whirl.
  • Mild and gentle. Use a very light detergent and the suggested amount for your load size. You don't want a build-up of soap that could irritate your skin.
  • Keep it delicate. The instructions will probably suggest using a delicate wash cycle, but if they leave you unsure — the gentlest wash option is the way to go.
  • Rinse it twice. Use the rinse cycle twice to make sure you've flushed the detergent out.
  • Dry flat. Some pillows shouldn't go in the dryer and need to lie flat to maintain their shape.
  • Try tennis balls. If your pillows can go in the dryer, throw them in with two tennis balls. The bouncing balls help fluff up the fibers and prevent clumping. Watch the manufacturer-suggested drying temperature.

Clean your dryer. The dryer exhaust and hose, tubing from the back of the machine to the wall, works best if cleaned at least twice a year. Detach the hoses and take them outside to be cleaned. A vacuum and a blow dryer can help you force out the lint — alternate to see which one works best for you.

Replace or clean filters. Each home is different but you probably have multiple filters that need replacing or cleaning. The following checklist will help you get started, but you'll want to customize it to your own home. Then just pull your list out twice a year and you won't forget.

  • Air conditioners. Make sure your air conditioner filter is in good shape so you can stay cool.
  • Furnace. A refresh of the filter is great for the performance of your furnace.
  • Refrigerator. Does your fridge have a water filter that needs replacing?
  • Range filter. If you have a range hood over your cooktop, it can collect a lot of grease. Regular cleaning or replacing keeps this filter in good working condition.
  • Humidifier. If dry air is a concern, then you might be using a humidifier with a filter.
  • Air and water purifiers. Keep your water and air clean by sticking to the manufacturer's filter schedule.
  • Vacuum cleaners. Some vacuum cleaners have HEPA filters, others need to be taken apart and washed.

Replace your toilet brush. Imagine all the germs that hang out in your toilet brush. And sticking it back into the holder while it’s wet gives germs a safe harbor. Replacing your brush twice a year gets rid of those germs and keeps your toilet cleaner.

Change the batteries. Most smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are battery-powered. Make it a habit to change the batteries twice a year, and you’ll never have to worry if they’re out of commission.

Check your emergency kit. Your emergency kit serves you best when it's kept fully stocked and up-to-date. Making it a daylight savings task helps you stay on top of replenishing. If you have non-perishable foods in your kit, take this opportunity to swap them out and replace them with fresh ones.

A smooth running household starts with organization, but it doesn't have to be difficult. These bi-annual maintenance tasks keep you ahead of the game so you can avoid costly repairs and unnecessary service calls. Boost your home confidence with an annual homeowners insurance check with your American Family Insurance agent to make sure you have all the coverage you need.

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Related Topics: At Home , Home DIY , Owning A Home