10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is finally here. You can tell by the bare trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.

1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause 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 all winter, search for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that might be leaky, such as near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you find 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 during the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This tactic 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. Be 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 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 added 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 raises the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and change the batteries twice a year.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You could 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 a high-tech option that lets you change 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 form along the eaves, preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. Left unaddressed, 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 drain properly.
  • Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
  • Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
  • Insulate the attic floor to further reduce 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 outside, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Handy

Slips and falls are more common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for proper application tips and recommended precautions.

Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling, and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for cold weather. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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