4 ways to prepare your home for the upcoming Wisconsin winter
Wisconsinites across the state continue to live in America’s Dairyland because we love seasons; the fresh air and budding flowers in the spring, the hot, lazy days spent lounging near the water in the summer, the pumpkin-spiced everything and changing leaves in the fall, and of course, the frigid temperatures and massive piles of snow in the winter.
That’s right, we willingly endure an excruciatingly brutal winter every single year because it’s worth it to get to live in the beautiful state of Wisconsin. And even though we’re prepared to put ourselves through the torment, our homes aren’t always ready for the bitter cold months ahead. The good news, however, is that there are steps you can take to prepare your home for winter and minimize any damage the Wisconsin conditions may throw at you.
Here are four ways to prepare your home for the upcoming Wisconsin winter.
1. Don’t let your pipe dream turn into a winter pipe nightmare
Quick science lesson: when water freezes, it expands. This can put pressure on pipes great enough to cause damage like cracking or bursting. In order to stop this from happening, there are a few different preventative measures that can be taken: first, when temperatures dip below freezing, for pipes that are exposed to the elements at outer walls, simply allow a tiny trickle of water to flow from faucets. This dripping helps keep water from freezing in the pipes. Second, you can add extra insulation to areas like your attic, basement or crawl spaces to help protect the pipes from exposure. And last, if you’re leaving Wisconsin this winter to get away from the cold (please take us with you) be sure to leave the heat on in your home at no lower than 55 degrees. A smart thermostat can be programmed to be sure that’s the case.
2. #NoFilter is fine for Instagram, but not your furnace
You know the old saying, “a clean furnace is a happy furnace,” right? I know, us either. But it should be! A dirty, improperly kept furnace can lead to efficiency issues, safety hazards and furnace failure. Proactive maintenance should include cleaning or replacing your furnace’s air filter. The clogged filter can affect functionality and ultimately cause the furnace to run inefficiently. Spending a little extra on a good filter typically means that you’ll only need to replace it annually.
3. Don’t throw your money down the gutter
Dead leaves and debris can clog up gutters during the spring, summer and fall. Come winter, water from snow can pile on top, resulting in the potential for a lot of damage. Clogged gutters prevent the water from draining properly and ice dams can occur along the roof, walls and attic. Prevent all of this by doing a quick sweep of your gutters prior to the first snowfall, and inspect the exterior of the gutters for any cracks. To avoid ice dams, brush snow from the first couple of feet of roof nearest the gutters, assuming it’s safe to do so.
4. Have you checked the chimney?
You’ll be the stranger calling a repair service if you don’t properly take the time to maintain your fireplace and chimney. Before you light your first fire of the season, be sure your chimney is clear of all debris and pests; if your flue is blocked, smoke will be unable to escape. This puts your home at risk of fire damage and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, creosote can build up on the walls of your chimney and is highly flammable. A stray spark or high temperatures can ignite it, and it is actually the leading cause of chimney fires. Hiring a professional chimney sweep can prevent accidents like these from occurring.
We love our seasons here in Wisconsin, and with the proper preparation and attention to detail, our homes will too.