10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the bare trees, early evenings, and layer of frost each 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 during winter.

1. Plan for Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

Your furnace has been dormant all summer. To prepare it for another heating season, arrange for a visit from a qualified technician to inspect, clean and service the equipment. The most cost-effective way to keep your heating system in great shape through the years is to sign up for a Maintenance+ membership.

2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Hire 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 provides 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 in cold weather, search for 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 all around areas that could be leaky, including near windows and doors, recessed light fixtures, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets. Then, seal the leaks you've found 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 better results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This method is ideal for stairwells and rooms with vaulted ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

An additional way to winterize your home is to exchange delicate, summery window coverings for thicker, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for increased insulation against the brisk night air.

6. Insulate Your Pipes

As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to keep this from happening. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation gives you 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 in 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, especially outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and swap out the batteries every six months.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You could 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 a modern option that lets you adjust 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 falling off the roof. When ignored, 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 flow properly.
  • Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from underneath.
  • 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 running through the attic.
  • Make sure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, not into the attic.

10. Keep Deicer Handy

Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by applying salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for specific application tips and suggested precautions.

Winterizing Your Home with Strand Brothers Service Experts

Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, reach out to Strand Brothers Service Experts. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare your home for winter weather. For more info about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Strand Brothers Service Experts office today.

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