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, you still have time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in great shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause 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 get ready to run your furnace more often, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that might be leaky, such as 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool over the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space during the winter. For the 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 high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to exchange light, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for added insulation against the brisk night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape under the insulation provides an additional 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 increases the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functioning. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily near sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and swap out the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to 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 an innovative option with the capability to modify the settings remotely by using 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 appear along the eaves, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Try these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- 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.
- 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 notably common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for correct application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Donelson Air 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 Donelson Air Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Donelson Air Service Experts office today.