Spring is still 10 days away, but it's time again to "spring" forward. Daylight saving time starts at 2 a.m. Sunday. Remember to set your clocks ahead one hour. We'll be on daylight time until Nov. 4, when we "fall" back to standard time.
Let the time change serve as a reminder to change filters and batteries.
To save energy and improve indoor air quality, change the filters in your home's heating and air conditioning system. Most systems recommend monthly filter changes; others require changing every 90 days or six months. To help keep track, write the date on the filter before you install it.
Change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors. Also, consider replacing the alarms and monitors or adding more.
"Replacing batteries and testing alarm function are vitally important," said Deborah Hanson, director of external affairs for First Alert, which makes home safety products. "But just as important is ensuring that alarms are in proper working condition and that your home is outfitted with the recommended number of alarms."
Many homes don't comply to those standards. According to a recent nationwide survey by First Alert:
Two thirds of households are not in compliance with the national recommendation for the number of smoke alarms set by the National Fire Protection Association.
About 90 percent of American homes do not comply with the recommended number of carbon monoxide alarms per home.
About 40 percent of those surveyed have no working carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.
California now requires carbon monoxide detectors in all single-family homes with at least one detector per level, usually near sleeping areas. If your home doesn't have one, install one now.
In addition, the NFPA recommends CO alarms in or near every bedroom.
For smoke alarms, homes should have one installed at the top of each staircase and one in every bedroom or sleeping area, according to the NFPA.
Don't assume your alarms work, added Hanson. Once installed, alarms should be tested every month and replaced if they fail. Most CO alarms need to be replaced every five years; smoke alarms, every 10.
For more tips, click on www.firstalert.com.
Starting Sunday with the return of daylight saving time, the city of Sacramento switches back to its residential spring-summer watering schedule. Instead of once weekly, the sprinklers can come on three times a week: Odd-numbered addresses on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; even-numbered addresses Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Mondays are "no water" days.
According to city rules, most residential irrigation is limited to early morning before 10 a.m. or evenings after 7 p.m. (Midnight is OK, too.) The exception: Drip irrigation systems may run at any time on any day.
If it rains, keep the sprinklers off. An inch of rain equals a week's worth of irrigation.
In the vegetable garden, plant seed for beets, carrots, celeriac, celery, collards, endive, fennel, jicama, kale, leaf lettuce, mustard, peas, potatoes, radish, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips.
In the greenhouse or indoors, start seed for summer and winter squash, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. They'll be ready to transplant in late April or May.
For spring and summer flowers, plant seed for aster, cornflower, cosmos, larkspur, nasturtium, nicotiana, periwinkle, portulaca, rudbeckia, salvia, snapdragon, verbena and zinnia.
Feed flowers, roses and berries with slow-release fertilizer as spring growth appears.
Pull weeds now! Don't let them get growing.