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. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over time is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also gives you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that might be leaky, like 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space in the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This tactic is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to exchange 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, close the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, 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 underneath the insulation provides an extra 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 in the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out 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 fine-tune the temperature at various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option that lets you modify the settings remotely using an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance tips.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that develop along the eaves, blocking melted snow from melting off the roof. Left alone, 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 drain like it should.
- 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 reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork up in the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are notably common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for correct application tips and recommended 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, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house 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.