10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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

1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System

Your furnace has been dormant 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-effective way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Call a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service removes 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 excellent condition.

3. Seal Air Leaks

As you start to run your furnace all winter, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that could be leaky, like 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse

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

5. Install Insulating Drapes

Another way to winterize your home is to trade out thin, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the cold night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation provides 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 raises the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month 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 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 with the capability to modify 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 develop along the eaves, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:

    • Clean the gutters so water can drain like it’s supposed to.
    • Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
    • 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 running through the attic.
    • Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Close By

Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure 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 directly 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 excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter weather. For more information about our services or to {request|schedule|arrange]] an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.