10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home
Winter has arrived. You can tell by the bare trees, early evenings, and layer of frost every 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. Request Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over time is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also gives you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace more often, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that might 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 the best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This tactic is most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Put in foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape under the insulation gives you 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 increases 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 working. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and replace the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by getting a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a high-tech option where you can 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 form along the eaves, stopping melted snow from falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Try these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot 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.
- Confirm 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 more common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Levy & Son Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Levy & Son Service Experts. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for winter weather. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Levy & Son Service Experts office today.