10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter has arrived. You can tell by the bare trees, early nights, and layer of frost in the 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 this winter.

1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in great shape over time is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Get a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause 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 start to run your furnace in cold weather, search for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that may be leaky, including 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 over the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space during the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This method is most effective in 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 thick, insulating drapes. Make 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 brisk night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. 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 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, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries twice a year.

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 optimize the temperature at different times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option with the capability to change 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 draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to get 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’s supposed to.
    • Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
    • Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm air from rising through the ceiling.
    • Insulate the attic floor to further decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
    • Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
    • Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Handy

Slips and falls are more common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for specific application tips and any potential precautions.

Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for cold weather. For more information about our services or to {request|schedule|arrange]] an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.