10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Home’s Heating

Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

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

3. Seal Air Leaks

As you start to run your furnace more often, search for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to discover 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse

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

5. Install Insulating Drapes

Another way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for added insulation against the cold night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape under the insulation provides an extra 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 raises the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functioning. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and replace the batteries every six months.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing 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 an innovative option where you can modify 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, preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to prevent 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 hot air from rising through the ceiling.
    • Insulate the attic floor to further reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
    • Seal and insulate ductwork running through 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 more common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don’t forget to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested 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, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for cold 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.