Winter has arrived. You can tell by the leafless trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in great shape over time 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 takes care of 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 more often, search for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that could be leaky, like 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 disperse warm air down to the living space over the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out thin, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for added insulation against the brisk night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you an additional 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. 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 outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature at different 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 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 appear 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 structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to stop 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 outside, 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 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 Coastal Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, call Coastal Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter weather. For more details about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Coastal Service Experts office today.