10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter has arrived. You can tell by the bare trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each 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 during winter. 

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Home’s Heating 

Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request 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 through the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected 

Call a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also provides 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, try to find and seal air leaks that 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 may 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse 

Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space in the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings. 

5. Install Insulating Drapes 

Another way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, 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 added insulation against the cold night air. 

6. Insulate Your Pipes 

As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation creates an added layer of protection in especially cold climates. 

7. Install Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

Sealing up your house, baking more and heating with combustion appliances elevates 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, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly 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 getting a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at various 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 by using 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 melting off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter: 

  • Clean the gutters so water can drain like it should. 
  • Ventilate the attic to prevent 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 restrict heat transfer through the ceiling. 
  • Seal and insulate ductwork inside the attic. 
  • Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic. 

10. Keep Deicer on Hand 

Slips and falls are notably common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for correct 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, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for cold weather. 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.