Winter has arrived. You can tell by the leafless 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. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in good shape over time is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get 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 result in chimney fires. It also gives 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, try to find and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could be leaky, such as near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks up 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 distribute warm air down to the living space over the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This strategy is best used in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to exchange light, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Make 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 in danger of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you an extra layer of protection in especially cold 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 functioning. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and change the batteries every six months.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to 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 an innovative option where you can adjust the settings remotely with an internet-enabled device. You also benefit from automatically generated energy reports and maintenance recommendations.
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. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain properly.
- 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 reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Close By
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. Don't forget to read the directions for correct application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Finch Air Conditioning & Heating
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Finch Air Conditioning & Heating. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for cold weather. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Finch Air Conditioning & Heating office today.