Winter has arrived. You can tell by the bare trees, early nights, 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. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, arrange for 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 great shape over time is to enroll in a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Call a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can trigger chimney fires. It also gives you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in good condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you get ready to run your furnace in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that might be leaky, such as near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you find 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 circulate 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 method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for added insulation against the cold night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are vulnerable to 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 creates an added layer of protection in especially 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 during the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly 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 throughout the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is a modern 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 appear along the eaves, stopping melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Try these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow properly.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid 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 running through the attic.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are more common in icy winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, call Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts office today.