Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren trees, early nights, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over the years is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also gives you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in excellent condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace more often, try to find and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could be leaky, such as 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 distribute warm air down to the living space over 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 vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Be 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 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 under the insulation provides an extra layer of protection in especially 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 during the winter. Be careful 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, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by getting a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option where you can modify 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 appear along the eaves, preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Follow these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it's supposed to.
- 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 decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through 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 particularly common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across 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 closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more info about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.