10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the bare trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there’s still time. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter. 

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment 

Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over time is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected 

Call a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger chimney fires. It also gives 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 in cold weather, look for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that could 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 over the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space during the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings. 

5. Install Insulating Drapes 

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

6. Insulate Your Pipes 

As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are at risk 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 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 elevates 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, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change the batteries every six months. 

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat 

Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You might 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 with the capability to adjust the settings remotely with 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, preventing melted snow from melting off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Follow these tips to deter 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 underneath. 
  • 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. 
  • Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic. 

10. Keep Deicer on Hand 

Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested precautions. 

Winterizing Your Home with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing 

Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.