Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the barren trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule 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 time is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to examine and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. This service takes care of ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause 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 more often, look for and seal air leaks that allow 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 could be leaky, like 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 disperse 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 best used in stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to trade out delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, close the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape under the insulation provides 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 increases the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning over the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functioning. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, particularly near sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month and swap out the batteries twice yearly.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still own an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by getting a programmable model. Pre-programmed settings optimize the temperature at different 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 tips.
9. Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams are ridges of ice that form along the eaves, stopping melted snow from draining off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Try these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can clear away like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent 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 reduce 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 outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Close By
Slips and falls are particularly common in cold 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 Matz-Rightway
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing systems. If you need help winterizing your home, call Matz-Rightway. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare your home for winter weather. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Matz-Rightway office today.