Winter is finally here. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost each 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 this winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to evaluate, 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
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 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 in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that will allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The quickest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick in 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space over the winter. For best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to exchange thin, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are in danger of freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape underneath the insulation provides an additional 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 during the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly 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 upgrading to 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 high-tech option where you can adjust the settings remotely by using 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, stopping melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Use these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away properly.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further decrease heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork up in the attic.
- Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are notably common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by sprinkling 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 suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Midland Air Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, call Midland Air Service Experts. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more info about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Midland Air Service Experts office today.