10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment 

Your furnace has been inactive 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-efficient way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape through the years 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 removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger chimney fires. It also gives you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in excellent condition. 

3. Seal Air Leaks 

As you get ready to run your furnace more often, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that might be leaky, such as 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 over the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space over the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This strategy is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings. 

5. Install Insulating Drapes 

A different way to winterize your home is to trade out 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, close the curtains after dark for increased 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 minimize the risk. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation creates an extra 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 working. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change 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 upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature at various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option that lets you modify the settings remotely by 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, stopping melted snow from melting off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Try these tips to avoid ice dams this winter: 

  • Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it should. 
  • Ventilate the attic to stop 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 inside the attic. 
  • Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic. 

10. Keep Deicer Handy 

Slips and falls are notably common in cold 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. Don’t forget to read the directions for correct application tips and any potential precautions. 

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

Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you for winter. 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.