10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early evenings, and layer of frost each 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 this winter. 

1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System 

Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready 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 tip-top shape over time is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected 

Hire a professional to examine 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 good condition. 

3. Seal Air Leaks 

As you get ready to run your furnace more often, look for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that might be leaky, including near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you find with weatherstripping, caulk, foam gaskets and expanding spray foam. 

4. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse 

Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space in the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings. 

5. Install Insulating Drapes 

Another way to winterize your home is to trade out light, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the brisk night air. 

6. Insulate Your Pipes 

As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape under the insulation provides an added 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 elevates the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Exercise 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, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries every six months. 

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat 

Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune 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 adjust the settings remotely with 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. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Try these tips to avoid ice dams this winter: 

  • Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should. 
  • 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. 
  • Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic. 

10. Keep Deicer Close By 

Slips and falls are particularly common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don’t forget to read the directions for correct application tips and recommended precautions. 

Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 

Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more information about our services or to {request|schedule|arrange]] an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.