Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, arrange for 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 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 result in chimney fires. It also provides 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 all winter, try to find and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to find 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also disperse warm air down to the living space over the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with high ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Be 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 drops, 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 underneath the insulation gives you 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. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and replace 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 getting a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature at various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option where you can modify 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 develop along the eaves, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Follow these tips to prevent 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 reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
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. Be sure to read the directions for proper application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with All American Air Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, call All American Air Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local All American Air Service Experts office today.