Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the leafless trees, early evenings, and layer of frost every morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in great shape through the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service takes care of 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 good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace in cold weather, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could be leaky, like 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool over the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space during the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This tactic is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to trade out light, summery window coverings for thicker, 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 added insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation provides an extra 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 working. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option with the capability to modify the settings remotely by using 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 develop along the eaves, stopping melted snow from falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Follow these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain properly.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid 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 Handy
Slips and falls are more common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by applying 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 Parker Pearce Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Parker Pearce Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for cold weather. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Parker Pearce Service Experts office today.