Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the leafless trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost every 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 this winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in good 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 removes 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 more often, search for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could be leaky, such as 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space over the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to swap out thin, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation creates an added 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 in the winter. Exercise caution 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, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and replace the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option with the capability to adjust 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 form along the eaves, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. Left alone, 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 like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent 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 reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork up in the attic.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are more common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for correct application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Epperson Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Epperson Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for cold weather. For more info about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Epperson Service Experts office today.