Winter has arrived. You can tell by the leafless trees, early nights, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule 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 through the years 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 removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause chimney fires. It also provides 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 allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could be leaky, including 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during 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 flip the switch to run them in reverse. This method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to trade out thin, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Make 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 brisk night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are at risk of 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 under 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 elevates the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning over the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near 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 could save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to 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 with the capability to change the settings remotely using an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance recommendations.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that develop along the eaves, blocking melted snow from melting off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Try these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid 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 up in the attic.
- Make sure 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 particularly common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along 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 Calverley Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Calverley Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for cold weather. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Calverley Service Experts office today.