Winter is finally here. You can tell by the bare trees, early evenings, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Follow these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and tune up the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in tip-top shape over time is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in chimney fires. It also grants you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace in cold weather, search for and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to discover leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could be leaky, including 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 disperse warm air down to the living space during the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and find the switch that lets them spin in reverse. This strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out thin, 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 increased insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Put in 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 added 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 increases 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 functioning. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and change the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You can save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings fine-tune the temperature at different times of 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 recommendations.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that appear along the eaves, blocking melted snow from melting off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to flow 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 drain properly.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork up in 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 particularly common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Norrell Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, call Norrell Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter weather. For more information about our services or to request an estimate, please contact your local Norrell Service Experts office today.