10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, 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. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System

Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in great shape through the years is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Call a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. 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 suitable condition.

3. Seal Air Leaks

As you get ready to run your furnace all winter, search for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in 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 during the summer, but they can also disperse warm air down to the living space during 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 tall ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

A different way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the frigid night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you 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 in the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries every six months.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing 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 high-tech option with the capability to change the settings remotely with 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 appear along the eaves, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structures 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 underneath.
  • 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 up in the attic.
  • Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Handy

Slips and falls are more common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and any potential precautions.

Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter weather. For more info about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office today.