Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each 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. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, request 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 good shape through the years is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause 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, try to find and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that might 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space in the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This strategy is best used in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, 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 increased insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape under the insulation creates 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. 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, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change 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 installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune 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 using an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance advice.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the eaves, preventing melted snow from falling 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 prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow properly.
- 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 reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through 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 to walk on 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 Teays Valley Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Teays Valley Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Teays Valley Service Experts office today.