Winter is in full swing. You can tell by the bare trees, early sunsets, and layer of frost in the morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, there's still time. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.
1. Request 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 inspect, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in good shape over the years is to sign up for 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 clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in 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 prepare to run your furnace more often, search for and seal air leaks that enable 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, including 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. Use Ceiling Fans in Reverse
Ceiling fans keep you cool over the summer, but they can also distribute warm air down to the living space over the winter. For better results, set your fans on low and flip the switch to run them in reverse. This tactic is best used in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for thick, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun warms your home for free. Then, pull 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. Put in 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 very 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 over the winter. Exercise caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, put in CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and swap out 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 upgrading to 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 an innovative option with the capability to modify 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, blocking melted snow from falling off the roof. When ignored, ice dams can allow water to reach under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Use these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can drain like it should.
- Ventilate the attic to prevent heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop warm air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict 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 outside the house, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer Close By
Slips and falls are more common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer on 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 Rob's Albertan Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing equipment. If you need help winterizing your home, contact Rob's Albertan Service Experts. We offer quality furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare you for winter. For more details about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Rob's Albertan Service Experts office today.