Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren trees, early nights, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in good shape over time is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause 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 get ready to run your furnace all winter, try to find 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 may be leaky, such as 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 in the winter. For 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
A different way to winterize your home is to swap out thin, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure 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 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 provides an additional layer of protection in particularly cold climates.
7. Install Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Sealing up your house, baking more and heating with combustion appliances raises 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 functioning. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and replace the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by installing 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 an innovative option that lets you 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, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to reach 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's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, 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 applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for correct application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for winter weather. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.