10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter has arrived. You can tell by the leafless trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Hire a professional to inspect 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 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 start to run your furnace all winter, try to find and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice 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 over the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space during the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

Another way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, 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 increased insulation against the brisk 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 beneath the insulation gives you an extra layer of protection in very cold 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. Use caution 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, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice yearly.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing 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 change the settings remotely 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, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Use these tips to deter ice dams this winter:

    • Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it should.
    • Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
    • Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm 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.
    • Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Close By

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

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

Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more info about our services or to {request|schedule|arrange]] an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.