Winter is finally here. You can tell by the bare trees, early sunsets, 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. Schedule Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in good 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 a year. This service takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger chimney fires. It also grants you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you get ready to run your furnace all winter, 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 might be leaky, including 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 disperse warm air down to the living space in the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This method is ideal for stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to exchange thin, summery window coverings for thicker, 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 added insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. 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 raises 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 working. 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 twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option with the capability to modify 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, stopping melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Use these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away properly.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent 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 reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork inside the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Close By
Slips and falls are particularly common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for proper application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Broad Ripple Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, call Broad Ripple Service Experts. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Broad Ripple Service Experts office today.