10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early evenings, 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 this winter.

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Home’s Heating

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

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Call a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause chimney fires. It also provides 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 in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to find 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 over the summer, but they can also disperse warm air down to the living space during the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This method is best used in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. 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 elevates the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Use caution 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, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and swap out the batteries every six months.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by getting 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 that lets you adjust 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, blocking 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. Use these tips to deter ice dams this winter:

    • Clean the gutters so water can clear away properly.
    • Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
    • Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated 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.
    • Ensure 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 icy 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. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested precautions.

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

Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for cold weather. For more details about our services or to {request|schedule|arrange]] an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.