Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early nights, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over time is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger 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 allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that could be leaky, including 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool over the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space during the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This strategy is best used in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, 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 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 under the insulation provides an extra layer of protection in particularly 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. 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, especially close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to 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 with the capability to adjust 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, preventing melted snow from melting off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Try these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict 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 outdoors, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Close By
Slips and falls are particularly common in cold 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. Be sure to read the directions for proper application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Sunbeam Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, call Sunbeam Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more information about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Sunbeam Service Experts office today.