10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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

1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

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

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Call a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also gives 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, search for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse

Ceiling fans keep you cool over the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space in the winter. For the 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 high ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out light, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the brisk night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape underneath 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 increases the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning over the winter. Exercise caution 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, particularly outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and replace the batteries twice yearly.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by installing 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 an innovative option that lets you 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 develop along the eaves, preventing melted snow from melting off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter:

  • Clean the gutters so water can clear away properly.
  • Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
  • 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.
  • Ensure 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 by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for specific application tips and recommended 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 work, and other services to prepare you for cold weather. For more information about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.