Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, 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 all winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in great shape over the years is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service takes care of 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 good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace more often, search for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice 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 circulate warm air down to the living space during the winter. For best 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 tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out light, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the brisk night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, 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 under the insulation gives you 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 increases 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 working. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to 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 high-tech option where you can modify the settings remotely using 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 develop along the eaves, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Follow these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain properly.
- 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 decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork up in 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 notably common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by scattering 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 directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, contact 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 details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.