Winter has arrived. You can tell by the leafless trees, early evenings, 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 during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over time is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service clears away 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 get ready to run your furnace more often, search for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that could be leaky, like near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you've found with weatherstripping, caulk, foam gaskets and expanding spray foam.
4. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space during the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This tactic is best used in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to trade out light, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the cold 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 beneath the insulation gives you 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 increases the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out 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 upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature at different times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a high-tech option where you can adjust the settings remotely with an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance tips.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that appear along the eaves, stopping melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Try these tips to deter 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 beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict 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 outdoors, 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 scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for proper application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Stevenson Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, call Stevenson Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for cold weather. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Stevenson Service Experts office today.