10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter has arrived. You can tell by the bare trees, early nights, and layer of frost every morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating System

Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to examine, 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

Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger chimney fires. It also gives you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in excellent condition.

3. Seal Air Leaks

As you prepare to run your furnace all winter, look 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 in areas that may be leaky, like near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you find with weatherstripping, caulk, foam gaskets and expanding spray foam.

4. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse

Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space over the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This tactic is ideal for stairwells and rooms with high 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 can warm your home for free. Then, close 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. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you an added layer of protection in particularly cold 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 near sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and replace the batteries twice a year.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still own 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 a modern option that lets you change the settings remotely 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, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to get 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 like it’s supposed to.
  • Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
  • Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot 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.
  • Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, 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 scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for proper 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, contact 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 details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.

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