The end of Daylight Saving Time means shorter days and longer nights, and is an ominous reminder of the winter months ahead. However, the annual clock change not only marks the seasonal change, but also serves as a friendly reminder for some seasonal maintenance tasks around the house. These check-ups will ensure you and your home are running efficiently. Here are four quick tasks you can complete with that extra hour.

  1. Prepare your heating system: Schedule a maintenance check for your furnace, or at least be sure to change the unit's filter. A dirty or clogged filter will make the system work less efficiently, which can become a costly expense during a cold front. You can get your furnace professionally serviced or, if you're handy,  search the Internet for how to complete these maintenance checks yourself.
  2. Switch up your wardrobe: As the temperature drops, this may bring the end of wearing shorts and a T-shirt around your house or apartment. Bringing out your cold weather outfits may help you delay turning on your heat an extra few weeks, which can lead to significant savings on your energy expenses.
  3. Seal for air leaks: Poor insulation not only allows for your climate controlled air to escape, it's also leaking money. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans spend about $2 billion annually on heating and cooling to account for heat transfer through windows.  So before you need to turn on your furnace, be sure to repair any drafty areas, whether this is a poorly insulated window or your attic. This may require a little extra work, but it will pay off in savings.
  4. Check your car's tires: No matter where you live, the winter chill will have an effect on your car. First off, cold weather significantly lowers your tire pressure – about 1 PSI for every 10 degree drop in outside air temperature. The cold air causes your tires' air to contract, and can lower your pressure to dangerous levels. Low tire pressure compromises your vehicle's cornering, braking and stability. Additionally, deflated tires increase friction with the road, which hurts fuel economy and tire life.

As you fall back an hour, take a few small steps forward to make sure you are ready for the season ahead. Enjoy the extra sleep time, and put yourself in the best position to continue saving on energy!

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