Fall Back to Energy Efficiency

It’s that time of year again, and this time we get that coveted extra hour of sleep! But did you know that the end of Daylight Saving Time is also a great opportunity to give your home an energy tune-up?

In 2019, the dreaded twice-yearly task of changing our clocks ahead or back one hour has been somewhat automated. Smartphones, PVRs and some appliances change on their own, but we still go from room to room changing the time on our stoves, microwaves, wall clocks and, most importantly, alarm clocks (and coffee makers).

The day the clocks change is also a good time to make some other changes around your home, especially before the colder weather hits. A few small steps now can help make your home safer and more energy efficient through the winter, so here are 6 other things to do while you’re changing your clocks this weekend.

1) Change the direction of your ceiling fans
If you have ceiling fans in your home, now is the time to change the direction your fan spins. In winter, fans should spin clockwise (ideally on a lower speed) to pull cooler air up. In summer, a counter-clockwise rotation pushes air down and creates a cooling wind effect.

2) Check, clean or replace furnace filters
This is something that should be done regularly, but that often gets neglected in the warmer months. If you haven’t checked your furnace filter in a while, now is the perfect time to replace or clean the filter. A clogged filter hampers a furnace’s performance and can lower the air quality in your home.

3) Change batteries in smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
This one won’t impact your home’s energy efficiency, but it was too important to not include in our list. Take the time to check the smoke & carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and replace batteries as needed. Replace the entire unit if it is past the manufacturer’s expiration date (usually 7-10 years).

4) Clean dryer vents, fridge coils and baseboard heaters
When was the last time you vacuumed the coils at the back of your fridge or dryer vent? Keep your appliances running efficiently by regularly vacuuming fridge coils, dryer vents or ducts and baseboard heaters. We suggest getting pumped up with your favourite playlist first because, let’s face it – vacuuming sucks.

5) Give your home an electrical check-up
As you go from room to room changing the clocks, stop and take note of the light switches and outlets in each room. Do they all work properly? Do any of them have burn marks or other damage? Are your outlets buzzing or making other sounds? By identifying potential hazards, you can prevent electrical fires before they happen. Be sure to hire a licensed electrical contractor for inspections or repairs.

6) Check and re-stock your emergency kit
Winter is coming. Be prepared for extended outages by ensuring your family’s emergency kit is well-stocked. Replace the water in your kit if needed, check expiry dates on food items and test flashlight batteries. Also consider your family situation – has anything changed? If you’ve got a new baby, be sure your kit includes everything they need. Same goes for a new pet. If you don’t yet have an emergency kit, it’s never too late to create one. Here’s a handy Emergency Preparedness Guide to get you started.

Done all those things? Great! You’ve just helped your home to be more energy efficient and safe through the winter months. Now all that’s left is to figure out that pesky car clock…

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