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Top 5 Tasks for December
1. CONDUCT HOME COMPUTER MAINTENANCE
The first task that we suggest for December is to conduct home computer maintenance.
Home computers have become an essential part of our day-to-day lives. And with December bringing the increased risk of power surges and outages, now is a good time to make sure that your computer is properly protected (see cost and review of computer uninterruptable power supply/ surge protector). The routine maintenance tasks that are important to do for your home computer include:
backing up important files (in at least two places).
making sure that you have working surge protectors for your computer and related equipment.
if you have an external hard drive for your computer, then you should check (or consider adding) an uninterruptible power source for both your computer and your hard drive because a loss of power while operating can corrupt the drive and lose all of your files (see cost and review of computer external hard drive).
updating your anti-virus programs (see cost and review of computer anti-virus software); and
defragmenting and repairing your drives (since a disorganized hard drive is more likely to crash).
2. REMEMBER BASIC HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS
The holiday season can be filled with joy and happiness, but unfortunately, the holidays are also a time of increased accidents and crime. Enjoy the season, but remember that is a time for your family to be extra careful around your home, in shopping malls, and around crowds. If you haven’t already, we suggest that you read the article in our December 2011 newsletter which covers “holiday safety tips for your home, children and pets”.
3. HAVE EMERGENCY SUPPLIES ON HAND
December is a good time to double-check that you have the proper emergency supplies on hand in case of winter power outages and emergencies . . . especially given the record-breaking weather we seem to be having. Fresh emergency supplies that you will want to have readily available include: jugs of fresh water, canned food, batteries, flashlights, candles, a first aid kit, water purification tablets, a manual can opener, matches, IPECAC syrup, and a battery or hand-powered radio (see types, costs, and reviews of: flashlights; first aid kits; water purification tablets; emergency radios).
4. CHECK YOUR PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS
A programmable thermostat can save you up to $150 per year in energy costs, but statistics show that most people with programmable thermostats don’t get this benefit because they have not programmed them properly. So if you have not yet adjusted the winter settings for your programmable thermostat, you should take a minute now to update them. And if you are not sure (or don’t remember) how to do this, then you can usually find online the toll-free phone number for most manufacturers, who can walk you through how to do this. For those of you who don’t have a programmable thermostat, then December is a good time to consider getting one.
5. BACKFLUSH YOUR WATER HEATER
And finally, with the weather getting colder outside during December, this means that your water heater has to work harder (since the water coming into your home will be colder). So December is a good month to remember to backflush your water heater, which will help it to maintain its energy efficiency and extend its useful life. Backflushing involves draining a few gallons of water from the bottom of your water heater. You need to be very CAREFUL doing this, as the water will be scalding hot. If you are unsure how to do this task, then you should hire a professional. You can find out more about backflushing you water heater in our article The Importance of Requesting a Water Heater 'BackFlush' .
We hope that our 5 suggested tasks for December will help you to keep your home safer and more energy efficient. And we wish you and your family all the very best for the holiday season and the New Year.
Related Articles . . .
Important Care for Your Home ComputerYour home computer, like any important appliance in your home, requires routine maintenance to keep it operating reliably and at peak performance. This article outlines what you should be routinely doing for your home computer. more ▶
Keeping Your Family Safe This Holiday SeasonHopefully your holidays this year will be wonderful. But the holidays are unfortunately a time of increased accidents and crime. So here are some holiday safety tips to help you protect your home, children and pets. more ▶
Maintaining Your Emergency SuppliesWhen your power goes out, you'll be glad that you have your emergency supplies available at your fingertips. But to ensure they're ready to go, your emergency supplies need routine maintenance. more ▶
Programmable Thermostats Only Save If Used ProperlyProgrammable thermostats can be a great way to save you money on energy, however they can only provide savings when they are used properly. Find out how programmable thermostats work and the right way to use them. more ▶
The Importance of Backflushing Your Water HeaterWould you like to save money on energy, prolong having to replace your water heater, plus improve its safety? Then just remember to ask your service professional to "Please backflush my water heater!" more ▶