10 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

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, you still have time. Use these winterization tips to keep your home safe, efficient and warm all winter.

1. Schedule Maintenance for Your Heating Equipment

Your furnace has been inactive all summer. To get it ready for another heating season, schedule a visit from a qualified technician to examine, clean and tune up the equipment. The most affordable way to keep your heating system in good 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 annually. This service removes ash, soot and creosote buildup, which can cause chimney fires. It also grants you peace of mind that the masonry, chimney liner, crown, and other fireplace components are in excellent condition.

3. Seal Air Leaks

As you get ready to run your furnace all winter, look for and seal air leaks that enable cold outdoor air to get inside. The easiest way to notice leaks is to hold a lit candle or incense stick near areas that could 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. Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse

Ceiling fans keep you cool in the summer, but they can also circulate warm air down to the living space in the winter. For better 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 vaulted ceilings.

5. Install Insulating Drapes

An additional way to winterize your home is to swap out thin, summery window coverings for heavy, insulating drapes. Remember to pull back the drapes during the day so the sun can warm 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. 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 provides an extra layer of protection in particularly 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. Use caution with matches, candles and other open flames, and make sure your smoke alarms are functional. Then, add CO detectors on every floor of your home, primarily near sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly and swap out the batteries twice yearly.

8. Upgrade to a Programmable Thermostat

Do you still have an old analog thermostat? You could save on heating bills this winter by upgrading to 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 a modern option that lets you 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 appear along the eaves, preventing 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. Follow these tips to prevent ice dams this winter:

  • Clean the gutters so water can flow like it's supposed to.
  • Ventilate the attic to avoid heat buildup that can melt snow from beneath.
  • 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 up in 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 notably common in freezing winter weather. Keep your sidewalks and driveway safe for pedestrians by scattering salt, kitty litter or chemical deicer across the pavement to melt the ice and snow. Don't forget to read the directions for proper application tips and any potential precautions.

Winterizing Your Home with Bob Brown Service Experts

Many winterization tips relate primarily to your home heating, cooling,and plumbing utilities. If you need help winterizing your home, call Bob Brown Service Experts. We offer excellent furnace maintenance and repair, plumbing support, and other services to prepare the house for winter. For more information about our services or to arrange an estimate, please contact your local Bob Brown Service Experts office today.

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