Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the bare trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost every 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 this winter.
1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, request a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-efficient way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Get a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace annually. 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 excellent condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you start to run your furnace in cold weather, try to find and seal air leaks that allow cold outdoor air to get inside. The best 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. Keep Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool during the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space over the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and run them in reverse. This strategy is ideal for stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to trade out thin, summery window coverings for thick, 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 added insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are vulnerable to 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 creates an extra 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 raises the risk of home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. Use caution 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, primarily 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 might save on heating bills this winter by installing 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 an innovative option where you can change the settings remotely using 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 develop 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 things in the attic. Follow these tips to deter ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further reduce heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork running through the attic.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Handy
Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for proper application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Rolf Griffin Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Rolf Griffin Service Experts . We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare you for winter weather. For more information about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Rolf Griffin Service Experts office today.