Winter is finally here. You can tell by the leafless trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the 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 during winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in great shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get 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 grants you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in excellent condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace in cold weather, search for and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to find leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in areas that may be leaky, like 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. 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 flip the switch to run them in reverse. This tactic is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature drops, 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 under the insulation provides an additional 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 over the winter. Use 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 monthly and swap out the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You might save on heating bills this winter by getting a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern option that lets you change the settings remotely by using 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 develop along the eaves, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structures in the attic. Follow these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further decrease 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 the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are particularly common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe 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 proper application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Jack Nelson Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, call Jack Nelson Service Experts. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Jack Nelson Service Experts office today.