10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home
Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the leafless trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in tip-top 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 a year. This service clears away 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 good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace in cold weather, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool in 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 run them in reverse. This strategy is best used in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to exchange thin, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the brisk night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are vulnerable to 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 provides an additional 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 increases the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by getting 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 a high-tech option where you can adjust the settings remotely using an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance advice.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the eaves, preventing melted snow from melting off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Use 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 heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork up in the attic.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are notably common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by scattering 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 recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Chief/Bauer Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Chief/Bauer Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter weather. For more info about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Chief/Bauer Service Experts office today.