10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early nights, and layer of frost each 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 all winter.

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in great shape over time 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 annually. This service takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause 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, search for 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 all around areas that may 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse

Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also disperse warm air down to the living space over the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This strategy is best used in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

Another way to winterize your home is to swap out light, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for added insulation against the brisk 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 prevent this. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation creates an extra layer of protection in very 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 during the winter. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functioning. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries every six months.

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 throughout 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 with 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 falling 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 avoid ice dams this winter:

    • Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it should.
    • 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 decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
    • Seal and insulate ductwork inside the attic.
    • Confirm 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 notably common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don’t forget 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 primarily 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 quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for winter. 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.