Winter is finally here. 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 this winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get 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 trigger chimney fires. It also grants 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 enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that could be leaky, like 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 better results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This method is best used in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape under the insulation creates an added layer of protection in especially frigid 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. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and replace the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You can 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 a high-tech option that lets you modify 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 appear along the eaves, stopping melted snow from falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Follow these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are more common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for correct application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Strand Brothers 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 Strand Brothers Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Strand Brothers Service Experts office today.