10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is finally here. You can tell by the bare trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter. 

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Home’s Heating 

Your furnace has been dormant 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 affordable way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected 

Hire a professional to examine 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 provides you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in suitable condition. 

3. Seal Air Leaks 

As you get ready to run your furnace all winter, look for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best 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 up 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 distribute warm air down to the living space over the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This tactic is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings. 

5. Install Insulating Drapes 

Another way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for added insulation against the brisk 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 minimize the risk. Electric heat tape under the insulation creates 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 raises the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning over the winter. Be careful 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, particularly outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and change the batteries twice yearly. 

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 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 modify 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 develop along the eaves, preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Use these tips to avoid 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 heated air from rising through the ceiling. 
  • Insulate the attic floor to further decrease heat transfer through the ceiling. 
  • Seal and insulate ductwork inside the attic. 
  • Make sure 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 particularly common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by sprinkling 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 closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter weather. For more details about our services or to {request|schedule|arrange]] an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.