Winter has arrived. You can tell by the leafless trees, early nights, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in good shape through the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in 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 start to run your furnace more often, search for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool over the summer, but they can also circulate 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 best used in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the cold 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 prevent this. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation provides an extra 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. 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, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and replace the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own 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 throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option where you can adjust 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 develop along the eaves, stopping melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Try these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
- 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.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are notably common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for correct application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Air Engineers Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Air Engineers Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you for cold weather. For more information about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Air Engineers Service Experts office today.