As we “fall back” and adjust our clocks, many of us have heard that we should also change the batteries in our smoke detectors. In addition to doing that, here are some things that ensure a safer and more efficient (cheaper to run!) home:

Check the owner’s manual for your refrigerator to see how to maintain it. Vacuum the filter, if and as required.

Check the gauge on your home’s fire extinguisher. If you don’t yet have one, this is a great time to get one. We also have one in the kitchen, in easy access range of the gas stove.

Clean the filters of the hood over the stove. It will run more efficiently and reduce the risk of fire due to accumulated cooking grease.

Check all the connections and flexible hoses and pipes under the kitchen sink to make sure that there are no leaks. And don’t forget the bathroom!

Check the insulation around all air conditioning units and make sure that there are no drafts, and be sure they are properly insulated. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines; don’t cram too much insulation which can actually defeat the purpose!

If you remove your air conditioning unit for the winter, don’t wait until the winter weather arrives. Now is a perfect time to do that in order to minimize the waste of heat and heating costs.

Clean the filters in all of your heating and air conditioning units. Clean filters not only increase efficiency and greatly reduce wear and tear, but also reduce the chance of developing or exasperating some airborne-related illnesses.

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space (balcony, garden or terrace), make sure the outdoor water source is turned off and the faucet is drained. If the water freezes, it can create huge problems.  Lastly, if you haven’t already, the current financial environment is a perfect time to refinance!