Fall is officially upon us, bringing colorful leaves, cooler weather and the end of Daylight Savings Time (Sunday, November 4th). While an extra hour of sleep is certainly welcomed during the “Fall Back” weekend, autumn’s return often comes with a cost to our daily routines and a hit on our wallets. It’s worth noting that studies suggest the twice-yearly changing of the clocks—which was adopted in the United States 100 years ago— is disruptive to sleep patterns, and can result in personal and workplace accidents.  As we prepare for darker days and winter weather, here are some tips to ensure you, your family and friends stay safe and save money.

Fall Back Checklist

Change Clocks and Batteries – While cell phones and computers update automatically, most home clocks and watches must be manually adjusted. It’s a good idea to do a walk-through of your home before you go to bed and turn back all your clocks. Don’t forget tabletop and wall clocks, microwaves, stoves and other appliances—as well as your home entertainment area.

Check Smoke and Co2 Detectors – For safety, it’s essential to inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually. Smoke and Co2 detectors require very little maintenance, but it is good practice to change the batteries twice a year. Make it a habit to check these lifesaving detectors at the beginning and ending of Daylight Savings Time.

Check and Replace Light Bulbs – Long dark winter evenings call for a little extra illumination, so when turning back the clocks take time to check and replace bulbs inside and out. Since you’ll have stepladders out to reach smoke detectors and clocks on Time Change Sunday anyway, giving lamps and lighting fixtures a quick look is a good way to maximize your efforts.

Winter Weatherization

According to the Center for Climate Change and Energy Solutions, the typical American family spends at least $2,000 a year on their home energy bills. By following these easy DIY tips you can save from 20-30% by making energy efficiency upgrades.

  • Close doors and central air vents in rooms that aren’t used very often.
  • Make sure your chimney flue is closed when not in use to prevent heat loss.
  • Cover drafty windows with a clear plastic film or hang insulating drapes to block cold drafts.
  • Add caulking or weather stripping around windows and doors to seal small openings that cause heat loss. This simple task can reduce energy waste and protect your home from moisture damage.
  • Replace your HVAC filters once a month to maintain a clean air flow which helps reduce energy costs.
  • Install or put to use automatic thermostats to monitor room temperatures.
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs like CFLs or LEDs and set a timer on your lights to save on electricity costs.

Following these simple tips will help ensure a safe, economical and environmentally-friendly fall and winter season.

Original Article BLDUP