10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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

1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

Your furnace has been inactive 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 affordable way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over time is to subscribe to 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 takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger 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 start to run your furnace more often, try to find and seal air leaks that will 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, 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 distribute warm air down to the living space during the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This tactic is ideal for stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

Another way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation provides an added layer of protection in very 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. Use 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, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change the batteries every six months.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a high-tech option with the capability to change the settings remotely 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 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. Use these tips to deter ice dams this winter:

  • Clean the gutters so water can flow 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 running through the attic.
  • Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Close By

Slips and falls are notably common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for correct application tips and any potential precautions.

Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more information about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.