As the clock turns

We all remember to change our clocks as daylight savings time begins or ends. Well, sooner or later we do... sometimes it's after we are an hour late or early for our first appointment of the day.  Somehow we correct the time and get on with our days and don't think anymore about it. Maybe we should - this is a milestone that happens twice a year and it can also serve as a reminder for a few other things we should do around our houses from time to time that are easily and often forgotten. Here is a handy list of tasks and chores that need to get done: Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors - If your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors use batteries, they need to be changed from time to time. While one could contend that the batteries can last for more than six months, is that a chance you are willing to take? Get a handful of batteries and the ladder, and take a trip around the house. This will only take you a few minutes and can save lives. While you are changing the batteries, take note of the device seems dusty or greasy. If so, clean the cover so the unit can work properly.

Dryer vent - Ah yes, the dryer vent. The often forgotten thing attached to your dryer that serves a really important function. Dryer vents usually catch and build up lint along the rough edges and the ridges. When the vent builds up too much lint, the dryer will work less efficiently and use more power. Vents can also become fire hazards when they build up too much lint. Cleaning the vents is easy, and is best done with long handled flexible brushes made for this purpose (available at most home centers). Be sure to check your dryer's owner manual for any instructions on cleaning the lint trap area.

Exhaust fans - While we are on the subject of venting stuff out of our homes, the exhaust fans in our bathrooms and kitchen also need cleaning. Check the grill on your bathroom fans and clean any dust that has built up. If you are able, it is also good to pull the grill off and clean inside. Be very careful when doing this and be sure that the unit is turned off. The exhaust fan in the kitchen over the stove needs a cleaning too. Check the owner's manual for the procedure to remove the filters and how they should be cleaned or replaced. Some of the filters can be cleaned in the dishwasher, and others are intended to be replaced. While this job can be a little messy, it will help the system work more efficiently, and get the smoke and vapor from the next cooking adventure out of the house.

Water filters - Here is one that is really easy to forget. Some of us have whole-house water filters in our basements while others are under the sink. Some refrigerators have water filters too. What's common to all of these is that they are out of sight - and out of mind. Unless your whole house system has instructions to contrary, it is a good idea to check the filter at least twice per year, and probably change it. If you have filters under the kitchen or bathroom sinks, check those too. Some refrigerators have lights indicating when a filter is in need of replacement. Others don't so now is a great time to get the old one out and give it old heave-ho. Be sure to check the respective owner manuals as sometimes there are specific procedures that need to be followed.

Furnace filters - As long as we are on the subject of filters that we never see and remember to change even less often, don't forget about your furnace. If you have a forced hot air furnace in your home, the unit probably takes a filter to keep the air in your home clean. The filters are usually located in the duct area that is part of the return and right next to the furnace. Some furnaces take more than one filter, and there are a whole variety of sizes, so be sure to check it out before you go shopping. During the heating season, you may find that you need to change the filter more often - perhaps once per month. This is worth keeping eye on as it will help your furnace run more efficiently.

Clocks - If you still have any energy left after doing all this, don't forget to set your clocks! And, whatever you do, remember to set them in the right direction. Think of it this way: Spring forward and Fall back.