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. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in good shape over time is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause chimney fires. It also provides 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 in cold weather, 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 near areas that may be leaky, like 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 disperse warm air down to the living space in the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This method is ideal for stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you an added 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. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functioning. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by getting 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 a high-tech option that lets you change the settings remotely 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, blocking melted snow from draining off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Use these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain properly.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Confirm 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 icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.