Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in good shape through 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 once a year. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger 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 prepare to run your furnace in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that will 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, like 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. Use 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 the 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
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, close the curtains after dark for added insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install 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 particularly cold 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 in the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily near sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have 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 an innovative option that lets you change the settings remotely by 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 develop along the eaves, stopping melted snow from melting off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow properly.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm 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 outdoors, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are notably common in freezing 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. Don't forget to read the directions for correct application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Stevenson 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 Stevenson Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Stevenson Service Experts office today.