Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early evenings, and layer of frost every 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 during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger chimney fires. It also provides you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you get ready to run your furnace more often, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that may 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 distribute warm air down to the living space over the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This method is ideal for stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to swap out light, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Be 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 added insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation provides 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 elevates the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at various times of 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 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 appear along the eaves, preventing melted snow from melting off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain properly.
- Ventilate the attic to stop 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 reduce 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 Handy
Slips and falls are notably common in icy 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. Don't forget to read the directions for correct application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with A-PLUS Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to A-PLUS Service Experts. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter weather. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local A-PLUS Service Experts office today.