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, it isn’t too late. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in 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 prepare to run your furnace more often, search for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that might be leaky, including 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space over 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 tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation creates an extra 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 raises the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functioning. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You can 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 with the capability to change 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 develop along the eaves, blocking 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. Use these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain 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 decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork up in the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are notably common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for correct application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with D.A. Bennett Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, call D.A. Bennett Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter weather. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local D.A. Bennett Service Experts office today.