Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early evenings, and layer of frost every 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 this winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service 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
Get a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service clears away 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 start to run your furnace more often, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The best way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that may be leaky, including near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you've found 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 disperse warm air down to the living space during the winter. For better 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 trade out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Remember 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 brisk night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you an extra 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. Be careful 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, especially near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and swap out the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option where you can 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 appear along the eaves, stopping melted snow from melting off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to flow under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Try 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 hot 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 outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for proper application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Gordon's Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Gordon's Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for cold weather. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Gordon's Service Experts office today.