Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early nights, and layer of frost in the 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 this winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in good shape through the years is to subscribe to 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 clears away 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 suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you get ready to run your furnace more often, look for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that may be leaky, like 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 method is ideal for stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation gives you an added layer of protection in very cold climates.
7. Install Smoke Alarms & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Sealing up your house, baking more and heating with combustion appliances elevates the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning over 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 installing 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 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 form along the eaves, preventing 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. Follow these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated 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 the house, 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 for pedestrians by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for proper application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Midway Services
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Midway Services. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for cold weather. For more information about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Midway Services office today.