Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the leafless trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.
1. Plan for 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 examine, clean and service the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in great shape through the years is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call 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 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 start 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 all around areas that may be leaky, such as near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks up 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 disperse warm air down to the living space in the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This tactic is best used in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Remember 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 frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, 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 underneath the insulation creates an additional layer of protection in particularly 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 over the winter. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functioning. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and replace the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to 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 modern option that lets you change 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 appear along the eaves, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Use these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent 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 restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Close By
Slips and falls are particularly common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Golden Seal Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Golden Seal Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for cold weather. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Golden Seal Service Experts office today.