Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren trees, early nights, 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 all winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in good shape over time is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service clears away 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 excellent 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 best way to find 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. 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 during the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to exchange light, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for additional 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 keep this from happening. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation creates an extra layer of protection in especially 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 over 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, particularly close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and change the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use 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 at different times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option with the capability to change 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 develop along the eaves, blocking melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it's supposed to.
- 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 inside 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 more common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Strogen's Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Strogen's Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter weather. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Strogen's Service Experts office today.