10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the bare trees, early nights, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.

1. Request Maintenance for Your Home’s Heating

Your furnace has been unused all summer. To prepare it 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 good shape over time is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Hire a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. 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 suitable condition.

3. Seal Air Leaks

As you get ready to run your furnace all winter, look for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that might be leaky, including near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you find 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 during the winter. For 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 tall ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Be sure 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 cold night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation creates an added 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 elevates the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter. Exercise 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 close to 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 might save on heating bills this winter by getting a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize 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 that lets you change the settings remotely by using 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 develop along the eaves, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Try these tips to avoid 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 below.
  • Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot 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.
  • Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Handy

Slips and falls are more common in cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and any potential precautions.

Winterizing Your Home with Stevenson Service Experts

Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling, and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, call Stevenson Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for cold weather. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Stevenson Service Experts office today.

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