Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost in the 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 this winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient 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 removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in 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 start to run your furnace more often, try to find and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that may 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 distribute warm air down to the living space in the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to trade out light, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for added insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you an additional layer of protection in particularly frigid 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 in the winter. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at different 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 by 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 melting off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away properly.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict 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 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 by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for correct application tips and any potential 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, reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for winter weather. For more information about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.