Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each 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 during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape through the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service takes care of 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 suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace more often, search for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could 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 distribute 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 method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out light, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for added insulation against the brisk night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape under the insulation provides an added 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 raises the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. Be careful 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, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and replace the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature at different times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option with the capability to change the settings remotely 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 falling off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent 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, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for proper application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter. For more details about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.