Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early nights, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over time is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service removes 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 excellent condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you get ready to run your furnace in cold weather, look for and seal air leaks that will 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 might 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 during the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to trade out thin, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape beneath 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 working. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and replace the batteries twice a year.
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 fine-tune the temperature at various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option with the capability to modify the settings remotely by using 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, stopping melted snow from draining off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Try these tips to avoid 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 below.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork inside 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 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 specific 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 systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for winter. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.