Winter has arrived. You can tell by the bare trees, early nights, and layer of frost each 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 all winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. 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 suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you get ready to run your furnace in cold weather, 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 in areas that may be leaky, such as 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 over the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This tactic is ideal for stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to trade out thin, summery window coverings for thick, 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 drops, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Put in 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 additional 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. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative 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 form along the eaves, stopping melted snow from melting off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Use these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent 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 inside the attic.
- Ensure 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 cold winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across 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 Atmostemp Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Atmostemp Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more information about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Atmostemp Service Experts office today.