Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the leafless trees, early evenings, 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 during winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call 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 cause 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 all winter, try to find and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that may 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space during the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make 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 increased insulation against the brisk 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 minimize the risk. Electric heat tape under the insulation creates an added 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 elevates the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and change the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by installing 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 where you can modify the settings remotely with 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, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent 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 restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork inside the attic.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are notably common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for specific 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 systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter weather. For more information about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.