Don’t forget to fall back this weekend and turn your clocks back one hour. Daylight savings time ends November 6, 2016 at 2 a.m.
It’s that time of year again where we “fall back” one hour and everything stays darker longer in the mornings and gets darker earlier in the afternoons. As we snuggle into the cozier time of year, we should prepare our homes and cars for the season change ahead of time so we don’t have to worry about it later when the snow comes and the temperatures drop.
This weekend will be an ideal time to tackle seasonal safety projects. A lot of the routine maintenance on your home and car should be done twice a year, so what better time to start checking items off your “to-do” list?
Around the house
- Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and test both devices to make sure they are in working order.
Tip: Don’t toss the batteries; there may still be juice in them. They can be used in children’s toys, media players or electronic devices. Squeeze out every drop of power, then recycle them.
- Check your furnace’s filter and replace it if it is clogged or dirty. Your furnace filter should be cleaned or replaced every two months during the heating season.
- Clear all your gear away from the furnace. Access to your furnace, and the area around it, should be clear of obstructions no matter what the season.
- Clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating. This is especially important now that the leaves are falling. If clogged, fall storms can wreak havoc and possibly cause leaks.
- Bring out of hiding, all the winter gear you’ll need to clear your walk, like shovels, sand and salt.
- Have your chimney cleaned so your fireplace will be ready for use.
- Inventory your home’s first aid kit and replace items that are expired, or replenish items like bandages that may be running low.
In Your Car
- Remove your sports equipment from the trunk and replace with a winter weather car safety kit. You can buy one or make your own car kit *(see below).
- Change your wiper blades. They should be replaced every six months.
- A change of season equals a change of oil. This will help to ensure your car operates at peak efficiency.
- If you change your tires seasonally, now is a good time to put your winter tires on if you haven’t already. A good rule-of-thumb is to put your snow tires on when the temperature drops to 7° Celsius. Also, do not mix-and-match; install four winter tires.
- For Quebec residents: December 15th deadline for tire changes; otherwise you could face fines ranging from $200 to $300.
- If you don’t change your tires seasonally, check your tire pressure and treads. If your tire pressure is off you’ll notice irregular and uneven wear on your treads, reduced vehicle handling or decreased gas mileage.
- Take your car in for a tune up because winter weather can really take a toll on it. A complete check-up can be vital in keeping your car running smoothly.
*CAR SAFETY KIT CHECKLIST*
How prepared are you for winter driving? If you don’t have a roadside emergency kit, you could be taking an unnecessary risk. Drive safe and keep a few basic items handy in your car; you could find yourself getting back on the road quicker if you ever run into problems while out and about. Here is a list of some of the items you might want to consider keeping in your car.
Vehicle safety kit checklist
- Cell phone and recharger (remember, if you’re going to make a call, pull over to the side of the road first.)
- Phone list of friends, family, doctors, neighbours and towing companies
- Ice scraper and brush
- Collapsible shovel
- Sand, salt or kitty litter (non clumping)
- Tow rope or chain
- Jumper cables or a portable charger pack
- Warning light, roadside reflectors or road flares
- Reflective safety vest
- Road maps
- Roll of paper towels
- Flashlight and batteries, or a wind-up flashlight
- Screw driver and duct tape
- Fire extinguisher
- Candle, a deep can (to put the candle in) and waterproof matches
- First-aid kit
- Extra clothing, gloves, a hat and footwear
- Emergency food pack (include non-perishable items like granola bars, nuts and bottled water)
- Properly inflated spare tire
- Wheel wrench and jack
- Extra windshield washer fluid and antifreeze
No matter what the season, you have to be prepared for anything the weather and elements throws at you. Too often people only have a car safety kit in their vehicle for the winter. Keep it in your car for the whole year because you never know when you might need it. Drive safe, drive prepared with a vehicle safety kit.
So now that you’re ready, go outside for a fresh walk and enjoy the fresh crisp air, bright sunshine, blue skies, and colourful trees we still have. The weather forecast says the next couple of weeks will still be warm during the days before the weather really changes. Then it’s time for hot steaming cocoa and fuzzy slippers 😉
Enjoy the extra hour everyone!
Best in health,