Winter has arrived. 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. 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 unused all summer. To get it ready 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 tip-top shape through the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to evaluate and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once per year. This service removes 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 suitable condition.
3. Seal Air Leaks
As you prepare to run your furnace all winter, 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 in areas that may be leaky, like 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. 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 during the winter. For the best results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This method is most effective in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
Another way to winterize your home is to exchange light, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Make sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, pull the curtains after dark for additional insulation against the brisk night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature falls, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Install foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to prevent this. Electric heat tape under the insulation provides 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 raises 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, primarily close to sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change the batteries twice a year.
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 various times of the day, so you can set it and forget it. A Wi-Fi thermostat is an innovative option where you can 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 develop along the eaves, preventing melted snow from draining off the roof. Left unaddressed, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage structural elements in the attic. Follow these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop hot 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.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outdoors, 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 to walk on by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Remember to read the directions for specific application tips and recommended precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with Orangutan Home Services
Many winterization tips relate closely to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Orangutan Home Services. We offer affordable furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more information about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local Orangutan Home Services office today.