Winter is coming – it’s inevitable. Homeownership comes with a whole list of responsibilities that vary from season to season, and we’re here to remind you to complete your homeowner winter checklist before the snow falls!
1. Seal the cracks
If you know of any cracks (or can feel them now that the temperatures have dropped) in your home or around windows, doors and air conditioners, it’s time to seal those up! Don’t let the heat get out or the cold seep in over those long winter months.
2. Test your detectors
Home fires are more common in the winter months. While smoke detectors should be checked monthly, it’s extra important to make sure they’re working now and that the batteries are good to go! Also, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector if you don’t already have one.
3. Prevent frozen pipes
If you know of any pipes in your home that could easily freeze, make sure those get insulated before it gets too cold. Throughout winter, run a stream of water in all your faucets periodically to prevent freezing and bursting. In the event that your pipes do freeze, know where they’re all located and learn how to shut the water off.
4. Check heating
Did you know that chimneys, furnaces and boilers should be serviced once a year? These annual checks will clear any buildup and help them run efficiently all winter long. Also, regularly changing the filters will significantly improve efficiency and longevity!
5. Check outdoor steps
If one thing is certain during winter in Wisconsin, it’s that things will get slippery! The constant melting and refreezing is the perfect recipe for ice. Make sure to repair any issues with your steps and ensure that handrails are sturdy and working properly. You’ll thank yourself on those icy days!
6. Trim the trees Winter’s heavy snow and ice, plus strong winds, can weaken trees and weigh down branches, which can fall and potentially damage your home or car! Make sure the trees are trimmed and dead branches are removed before the first heavy snowfall.
7. Pack away the hose Remove all attached garden hoses from the faucet, drain them and pack them away. Shut off the valves and insulate the faucets.
8. Clean the gutters Ice dams can be prevented by cleaning out your gutters, ensuring the attic floor is insulated, and installing gutter guards if possible.
9. Adjust ceiling fans Did you know that having your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction will push hot air long the ceiling toward the floor? Just switch them again come summertime for the opposite effect!
10. Flush the water heater Sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater over a period of time, which limits its overall efficiency. Flush that water through the drain valve to keep your water heater performing its best!
11. Insulate windows
It’s not a glamorous look, but covering your windows with insulation film can keep up to 70% of heat from leaking out. Hello, cozy warm home!
12. Get snow removal ready
Don’t wait until the first big snowstorm to stock up on shovels or gas for your snowblower – others will probably wait too and the stores may run out! Check now to make sure you have a working shovel (or two) or that your snowblower is filled up with gas and runs properly.
13. Prepare for travel
If you’re a snowbird and leave town for the winter, or if you’re planning a longer getaway, take extra precautions when winterizing your home. Turn the water completely off and think about having the plumbing system drained to prevent frozen pipes. Don’t forget to have a friend check on the home from time to time to look for any issues!