Winter is finally here. You can tell by the leafless trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in great 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 once a year. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger chimney fires. It also grants you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace more often, search for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that could be leaky, including 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also disperse warm air down to the living space over the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This strategy is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming 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. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape under the insulation provides an extra 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 increases the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and replace the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at different times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a high-tech option that lets you change the settings remotely with 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 melting off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Try these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork up in the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are more common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget 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 directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for cold weather. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.