Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early evenings, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in good shape through the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also grants 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 all winter, look for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could be leaky, like near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you find 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 disperse warm air down to the living space over the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and 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 trade out thin, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation creates an extra layer of protection in very 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. Use caution 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, primarily near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by getting a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option that lets you change the settings remotely using an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance recommendations.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the eaves, preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Use these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for correct application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Many winterization tips relate primarily 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 affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for cold weather. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.