Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the bare trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost every morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in 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 get ready to run your furnace more often, search for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that could 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also disperse warm air down to the living space over the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This tactic is most effective in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, 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, close the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation creates an added layer of protection in especially 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 over the winter. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly close to 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 might save on heating bills this winter by installing 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 change the settings remotely with an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance recommendations.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that appear along the eaves, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Follow these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid 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.
- Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for correct 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 work, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more info about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.