10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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

1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System 

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 service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in great shape over time 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 once per year. This service takes care of 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 suitable condition. 

3. Seal Air Leaks 

As you prepare to run your furnace in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that could 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse 

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

5. Install Insulating Drapes 

A different way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Be 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 added insulation against the brisk night air. 

6. Insulate Your Pipes 

As the temperature dips, 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 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 increases the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Use 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, especially close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out 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 getting 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 where you can modify 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, stopping melted snow from draining off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Use these tips to avoid ice dams this winter: 

  • Clean the gutters so water can drain like it should. 
  • Ventilate the attic to avoid 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 reduce 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 outside, not into the attic. 

10. Keep Deicer Handy 

Slips and falls are more common in cold 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. 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 primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more info about our services or to {request|schedule|arrange]] an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.