Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early evenings, and layer of frost every 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. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been inactive 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 affordable way to keep your heating system in good shape over time is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to evaluate 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 provides you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in excellent condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace all winter, try to find and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to find 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 disperse warm air down to the living space over the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out thin, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, pull 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. Install 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 very frigid climates.
7. Install Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Sealing up your house, baking more and heating with combustion appliances raises the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functioning. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and change the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You might 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 modern option with the capability to modify 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 develop along the eaves, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- 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 up in the attic.
- Ensure 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 more common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe 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 recommended 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, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you for winter weather. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.