Winter has arrived. You can tell by the bare trees, early nights, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Follow 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 inactive all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, schedule 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 subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in 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 all winter, search for and seal air leaks that enable 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, including 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space in the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This method is best used in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to swap out light, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the cold 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 prevent this. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation creates an extra 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 in 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 swap out the batteries twice a year.
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 optimize the temperature at different times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option where you can modify 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, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Use these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow properly.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent 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 restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through 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 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 suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Robinson Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, call Robinson Service Experts . We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Robinson Service Experts office today.