Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early evenings, and layer of frost every morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. 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 unused all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, arrange for 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 over time is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per 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 get ready to run your furnace in cold weather, search for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that could be leaky, such as near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks up 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 disperse 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 strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with tall 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 continues warming your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation creates an added layer of protection in particularly frigid 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 during the winter. Use caution 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, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and swap out the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a high-tech option where you can modify 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 form along the eaves, preventing melted snow from melting off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Try these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Close By
Slips and falls are more common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for proper application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Climate Control Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Climate Control Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter weather. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Climate Control Service Experts office today.