Winter is finally here. You can tell by the leafless trees, early nights, and layer of frost every 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 this winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over 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 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 good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace in cold weather, search for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that could be leaky, such as near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you've found with weatherstripping, caulk, foam gaskets and expanding spray foam.
4. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool over the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space over the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This method is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to exchange light, 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, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the brisk night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation gives you an additional layer of protection in very 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 in the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and change the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to 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 that lets you adjust the settings remotely with an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance tips.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that develop along the eaves, blocking melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Try 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 heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork up in the attic.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
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 recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you 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.