Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been dormant 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 affordable way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause chimney fires. It also grants you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace in cold weather, look for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that may be leaky, including 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 the best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This method 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 thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for added insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape under the insulation creates an additional layer of protection in especially 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 over the winter. Be careful 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 replace the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at different 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 advice.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the eaves, stopping melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Try these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away properly.
- 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 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 cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember 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 equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for cold weather. For more information about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.