10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren 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 this winter.

1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating System

Your furnace has been unused all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over the years is to enroll in 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 takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in 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 start to run your furnace all winter, search for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that might be leaky, such as near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks up 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 best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This strategy is ideal for stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

Another way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming 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 dips, exposed pipes are in danger of 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 added 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 in the winter. Use caution 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, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month 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 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 an innovative option with the capability to 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 alone, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Use these tips to deter ice dams this winter:

    • Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it’s supposed to.
    • Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
    • 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 inside the attic.
    • Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Handy

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

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

Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for winter. 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.