Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the bare trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in good shape over time is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause chimney fires. It also grants 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 easiest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near 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. 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 the best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This tactic is best used in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for added insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation creates an added layer of protection in very frigid 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 during the winter. Be careful 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 swap out the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by getting 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 a high-tech option that lets you adjust the settings remotely with 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 develop along the eaves, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Use these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain properly.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- 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.
- Make sure 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 by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for specific application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Roland J. Down Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Roland J. Down Service Experts . We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more info about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Roland J. Down Service Experts office today.