Winter is finally here. You can tell by the leafless trees, early nights, and layer of frost every morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm during winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape through the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause chimney fires. It also gives 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 more often, try to find and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to find 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 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 over the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This strategy is ideal for stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to swap 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 increased 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 keep this from happening. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation creates an additional 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 working. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out the batteries twice yearly.
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 with the capability to modify 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 form along the eaves, preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Use these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- 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.
- 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 particularly common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Knochelmann Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Knochelmann Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Knochelmann Service Experts office today.