Winter has arrived. You can tell by the barren trees, early evenings, and layer of frost each morning. If you haven’t winterized your home yet, you still have time. Run through these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm this winter.
1. Request Maintenance for Your Heating System
Your furnace has been unused all summer. To make preparations for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and service the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in great shape through the years is to subscribe to a Maintenance+ membership.
2. Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Hire a professional to inspect and clean your wood-burning stove or fireplace once a year. This service clears away ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can result in 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 get ready to run your furnace more often, 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 all around areas that may 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. 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 strategy is most effective in stairwells and rooms with tall ceilings.
5. Install Insulating Drapes
A different way to winterize your home is to swap out delicate, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Be sure to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun continues warming your home for free. Then, shut the curtains after dark for added insulation against the frigid night air.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
As the temperature dips, exposed pipes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting. Add foam pipe insulation to plumbing in the garage, crawlspace or unfinished basement to minimize the risk. Electric heat tape beneath the insulation gives you an added layer of protection in very frigid 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 in the winter. Be careful with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are working. Then, install CO detectors on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test your alarms each month and change the batteries twice a year.
8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat
Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You might 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 a high-tech option where you can adjust 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 form along the eaves, blocking melted snow from draining off the roof. Left alone, ice dams can allow water to get under the shingles and damage things in the attic. Try these tips to avoid ice dams this winter:
- Clean the gutters so water can flow like it's supposed to.
- Ventilate the attic to stop heat buildup that can melt snow from below.
- Seal attic floor penetrations to stop heated air from rising through the ceiling.
- Insulate the attic floor to further restrict heat transfer through the ceiling.
- Seal and insulate ductwork inside the attic.
- Confirm your kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and the dryer vent lead outside, not into the attic.
10. Keep Deicer on Hand
Slips and falls are particularly common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe to walk on by sprinkling salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer along the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Be sure to read the directions for specific application tips and any potential precautions.
Winterizing Your Home with San Antonio Air Service Experts
Many winterization tips relate directly to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, call San Antonio Air Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing work, and other services to prepare the house for winter weather. For more info about our services or to schedule an estimate, please contact your local San Antonio Air Service Experts office today.