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, it isn’t too late. 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 inactive all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and tune up 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 removes 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 excellent condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to discover 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during 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 run them in reverse. This method is ideal for stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming 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 keep this from happening. Electric heat tape under the insulation provides an additional layer of protection in very cold 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 functional. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and replace the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by getting 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 where you can 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 form along the eaves, preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to flow 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 up in the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are more common in cold 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. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with TML Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, contact TML Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for winter weather. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local TML Service Experts office today.