Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in great shape through the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also provides you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace all winter, look for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that may be leaky, including 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. 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 better results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for thick, 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 added insulation against the brisk 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 minimize the risk. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation gives you an extra 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 elevates the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning over the winter. Exercise 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 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 a modern option where you can adjust 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 form along the eaves, stopping melted snow from draining off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structural elements 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 underneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork inside 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 notably common in cold 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. Remember to read the directions for correct application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Comfort Masters Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Comfort Masters Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for winter. For more information about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Comfort Masters Service Experts office today.