10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the leafless trees, early evenings, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there’s still time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Hire a professional to examine 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 grants you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in suitable condition.

3. Seal Air Leaks

As you get ready to run your furnace more often, try to find and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that might be leaky, including 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse

Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space in the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This method is ideal for stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

A different way to winterize your home is to exchange thin, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming 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 drops, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Add 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 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. Be careful 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, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and change the batteries twice yearly.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You might 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 modern 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 appear along the eaves, preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Follow 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 hot 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 Handy

Slips and falls are more common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on 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 systems. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more information about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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