10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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, there’s still time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter. 

1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating System 

Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in great 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 annually. This service takes care of 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 excellent condition. 

3. Seal Air Leaks 

As you start to run your furnace all winter, search for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that may be leaky, such as near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you find with weatherstripping, caulk, foam gaskets and expanding spray foam. 

4. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse 

Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also circulate 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 strategy is ideal for stairwells and rooms with high ceilings. 

5. Install Insulating Drapes 

A different way to winterize your home is to swap out light, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air. 

6. Insulate Your Pipes 

As the temperature falls, 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 raises 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 functioning. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change 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 at various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option where you can adjust the settings remotely by using an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance tips. 

9. Prevent Ice Dams 

Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the eaves, stopping melted snow from draining off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Use these tips to avoid ice dams this winter: 

  • Clean the gutters so water can drain properly. 
  • Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath. 
  • Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot 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. 
  • Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic. 

10. Keep Deicer Handy 

Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don’t forget to read the directions for specific application tips and recommended precautions. 

Winterizing Your Home with Sunbeam Service Experts 

Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Sunbeam Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for cold weather. For more information about our services or to {request|schedule|arrange]] an estimate, please contact your local Sunbeam Service Experts office today.