Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire 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 trigger chimney fires. It also provides you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in excellent condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you get ready to run your furnace all winter, search for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best 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 circulate warm air down to the living space during the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This method is best used in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to swap out light, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the cold 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 beneath the insulation provides 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. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and change the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to 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 a high-tech option where you can change 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, preventing melted snow from melting off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Try these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further decrease 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 Handy
Slips and falls are more common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for correct application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Church Services
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Church Services. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more details about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Church Services office today.