Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early nights, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape through the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger chimney fires. It also gives you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you get ready to run your furnace in cold weather, look for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that might be leaky, including near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks up with weatherstripping, caulk, foam gaskets and expanding spray foam.
4. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space in the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This strategy is ideal for stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out light, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for added insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation creates an additional layer of protection in especially cold climates.
7. Install Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Sealing up your house, baking more and heating with combustion appliances increases the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and swap out the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option with the capability to modify the settings remotely with an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance advice.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the eaves, stopping melted snow from draining off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away properly.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork inside the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Close By
Slips and falls are particularly common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.