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10 Ways to Prepare Your House for Winter

Ahh, winter. Whether you’re a fan of the season or not, it is here. There are a few steps that homeowners can take to make winter a little more bearable, and trust us, you’ll be thanking yourself come Spring.

  1. Replace furnace filters Clean furnace filters will increase the furnace’s efficiency and lower your heating bills - not to mention extend the life of your furnace. Switch out those filters monthly (or at least every three months) in these colder months - if you hold the filter up to the light and can’t see through it, you need a new one!

  2. Protect patio furniture Once patio season is over, clean and dry patio furniture and either cover with a heavy tarp or store away in a shed to maintain its quality and protect it from the impending snow and ice.

  3. Call a chimney sweep Winter is the perfect time to get some use out of your fireplace, but before you kick off the fire season, make sure your fireplace chimney and vents are clean - this will prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your home. Expect to pay between $50-100 for the inspection, and $100-300 for any potential cleaning.

  4. Restock cold-weather essentials Make sure you’re all set when it comes to shovels, salt and ice melt. When that first winter storm hits, you’re not going to want to brave the elements to pick up these things at the store!

  5. Turn off exterior faucets The cold in Wisconsin can do some crazy things - like burst a pipe! Make sure when winter hits that your exterior faucets are turned off. Undrained water in pipes will freeze, and can cause the pipes to burst!

  6. Prevent ice dams Icicles on your home are almost impossible to avoid in a place like Wisconsin; however, there are measures you can take to prevent ice dams, which can cause meltwater to back up and flow into the house. Have a home-energy auditor or weatherization contractor stop by your home to identify air leaks and poor insulation in your home’s attic.

  7. Clean the gutters Another way to prevent ice dams is by cleaning your gutters. If gutters are full, water can back up and cause damage to roofing, siding, and trim - plus, it can cause leaks and ice dams!

  8. Caulk around windows and doors The rule of thumb here is that if gaps between your siding and your window/door frames is bigger than the width of a nickel, reapplying exterior caulk is necessary.

  9. Reverse your ceiling fans Running your fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after turning on heat will produce an updraft and push the hot air down into the room. This is especially true in rooms with high ceilings. Remember - “warm air rises!”

  10. Install a door sweep Stop drafts from entering your home by installing a door sweep under your exterior doors - you’ll be amazed how much warmer that room will stay!

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