10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the bare trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the 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 during winter.

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating System

Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape through the years is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Get a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service clears away 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 good condition.

3. Seal Air Leaks

As you start to run your furnace more often, try to find and seal air leaks that will allow 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 could be leaky, including 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 circulate warm air down to the living space during the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This tactic is most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

A different way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the brisk night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are in danger of 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 gives you an additional layer of protection in especially frigid 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 over the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out the batteries twice yearly.

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 various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option where you can adjust 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 form along the eaves, blocking 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. Try these tips to deter ice dams this winter:

    • Clean the gutters so water can flow like it’s supposed to.
    • Ventilate the attic to stop 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 restrict 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, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Handy

Slips and falls are more common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don’t forget to read the directions for correct 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 work, and other services to prepare your home for cold weather. For more info about our services or to {request|schedule|arrange]] an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.