Winter is finally here. You can tell by the bare trees, early nights, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in tip-top 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 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 suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace all winter, look for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that may 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. 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 best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This strategy is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation creates an additional 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. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and change the batteries twice yearly.
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 at various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option with the capability to adjust 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 develop along the eaves, blocking melted snow from draining off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Follow these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow properly.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork inside the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, 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 sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for correct application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for winter. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air office today.