This article has been updated from a previous version.
With spring around the corner, Canadians can safely assume the worst of the cold weather has come to pass. We all look forward to springtime, but chances are you may be less enthused about losing an hour of sleep. March 13 at 2 a.m. marks the beginning of daylight saving time (DST), which means clocks spring forward by one hour in all regions that observe the time change.
Fortunately, you can prepare for the time switch this weekend by going to bed an hour earlier than normal. Exercising and eating dinner early in the evening, as well as reducing your screen time before bed can help your brain relax enough to get to sleep earlier.
Daylight saving time weekend is also when a lot of Canadians like to tackle seasonal safety projects around the house and in their vehicle. After all, mitigating any risks that could cause you to file a home or auto claim can proactively help keep your home insurance and car insurance premiums low.
And besides, routine maintenance on your home and vehicle should be done twice a year, so what better time to start checking items off your list?
Spring safety checklist for your house
- Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and test both devices to make sure they are in working order. Check to see if the used batteries have any power left in them, and if not, recycle them at an appropriate disposal location.
- Check your furnace's filter and replace it if it is clogged or dirty. Your furnace filter has been busy this heating season and should be cleaned or replaced at least every two months.
- Clear all your gear away from the furnace. Access to your furnace, and the area around it, should be clear of obstructions no matter the season.
- Remove debris from gutters and downspouts that may have accumulated during the winter to minimize the chance of leaks from rain and melting snow. The annual spring melt is a common cause of flooding in Canada. Similarly, if you have a fireplace, have your chimney cleaned so it's ready for use in the fall.
- Go through your medicine cabinet for expired medication. Your pharmacist should either take your old medications or provide you with information about where to dispose of them.
- Do an inventory of your home's emergency kit and restock items where needed.
- If you're planning to renovate your home this summer, or install a pool, make sure you set aside time to give your home insurance provider a call. Having adequate coverage makes your home a safer place to live during the renovations and after they're completed.
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Spring safety checklist for your vehicle
- Do not remove your car safety kit. Keep it in your car for the whole year. You never know when you might need a flashlight or jumper cables.
- Change your wiper blades. They should be replaced every six months.
- A change of season means a change of oil. This will help to ensure your car operates at peak efficiency.
- Your car's belts and hoses have dealt with extreme cold, snow, salt, and sand in the last few months. Get them checked by a mechanic to make sure everything is connected properly and running smoothly.
- Give your car a good cleaning inside and out. Snow, ice, and road salt are hard on your vehicle. How you wash your car can affect the longevity of your vehicle.
- If you change your tires seasonally, you'll want to consider putting your all-season tires on soon. You should switch tires when the temperature is consistently above 7 degrees Celsius. For insurance purposes (if you live in Ontario and your policy includes a winter tire discount) the tires typically need to be on the vehicle from November to April. And, if you live in Quebec, leave them on until March 15, otherwise you could face a fine of $300.
- Whether you change your tires seasonally or not, check the tire pressure and treads. If the tire pressure is off, you'll notice irregular and uneven wear on your treads, reduced vehicle handling, or decreased gas mileage.
Following these seasonal safety practices can help you get an early start to your spring maintenance and prevent insurance claims that can hike up your home and auto premiums. Prioritizing rest before this Sunday’s time change can also help you stay alert while driving and avoid any cause for a claim.
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Use RATESDOTCA to shop around, and compare multiple quotes at the same time.