Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To make preparations 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 great shape through the years is to sign up for 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 clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also provides you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in excellent condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace in cold weather, look for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to discover 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also circulate 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 tactic is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to exchange thin, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Remember 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 cold 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 prevent this. Electric heat tape under the insulation provides an extra layer of protection in very cold 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. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option that lets you modify the settings remotely using 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, blocking melted snow from melting off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Follow these tips to prevent 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 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 inside the attic.
- Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are more common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested 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 excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more info about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.