Winter is finally here. You can tell by the bare trees, early sunsets, 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 this winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient 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
Get a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger 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 get ready to run your furnace in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that could be leaky, such as 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. Keep 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 flip the switch to run them in reverse. This strategy is best used 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 thicker, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you an extra layer of protection in very 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 over the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You could 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 with the capability to modify 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 form along the eaves, stopping melted snow from melting off the roof. When ignored, 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 drain like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further reduce 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 notably 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 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 quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you for winter weather. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.