Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the leafless trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, it isn’t too late. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Home's Heating
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over time is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service takes care of 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 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 discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick all around areas that might be leaky, like 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool over the summer, but they can also disperse warm air down to the living space during the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This tactic is best used in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation gives you an added layer of protection in particularly cold 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 functioning. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still use an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by installing 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 an innovative option that lets you modify the settings remotely with 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, preventing melted snow from falling off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Try these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further reduce 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 notably common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for correct application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with R & M Climate Control Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to R & M Climate Control Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for cold weather. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local R & M Climate Control Service Experts office today.