Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the leafless trees, early nights, 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. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause 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 start to run your furnace all winter, try to find and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool over the summer, but they can also disperse warm air down to the living space over the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This tactic is most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to swap out light, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, 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 gives you an added 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 raises 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 working. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature at different times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative 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 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 prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain properly.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm 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 outdoors, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are more common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Freschi Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Freschi Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for cold weather. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Freschi Service Experts office today.