Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective 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
Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also provides you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that 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 may be leaky, like 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space in the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This tactic is best used in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation provides an added layer of protection in especially frigid climates.
7. Install Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Sealing up your house, baking more and heating with combustion appliances elevates the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning over the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and swap out the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by getting 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 a high-tech option where you can change the settings remotely using 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 falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Use these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Close By
Slips and falls are notably common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for proper 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, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.