10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

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 affordable 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

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 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 start to run your furnace more often, look for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that might be leaky, like near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks up with weatherstripping, caulk, foam gaskets and expanding spray foam.

4. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse

Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space in the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This method is most effective 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 thicker, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the brisk night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you an additional 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 raises 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 close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change the batteries twice yearly.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at different times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option where you can change the settings remotely with an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance recommendations.

9. Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams are ridges of ice that develop along the eaves, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to reach 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 properly.
    • Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
    • 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 up in the attic.
    • Make sure 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 cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on 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 primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home 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.