Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren trees, early nights, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, arrange for 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 through the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service clears away 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 get ready to run your furnace in cold weather, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that might be leaky, such as 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 over the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space during the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This strategy is best used in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to swap out thin, 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, close the curtains after dark for added insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, 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 underneath the insulation provides an added layer of protection in especially frigid climates.
7. Install Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Sealing up your house, baking more and heating with combustion appliances increases the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functioning. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have 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 different times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option where you can modify the settings remotely with 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 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 structures in the attic. Use these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- 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 on Hand
Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for proper application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with A1 Chesney Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, contact A1 Chesney Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you for cold weather. For more info about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local A1 Chesney Service Experts office today.