We all know that winters in Wisconsin can be tough: frigid temperatures, snowy weather, icy roads, slick sidewalks… you know the drill. Staying cozy and warm at home is high on many Wisconsinites’ lists during the colder months. Here are some simple tips to winterize your home – both inside and out – and steer clear of any possible mishaps or damages.
Checklist to Winterize Your Home
1. Protect your pipes
Be sure to insulate any pipes in your home in unheated areas that could be susceptible to freezing in basements, attics, garages, near windows and doors.
Tips to protect pipes from freezing:
- Regularly run a steady stream of lukewarm water from each faucet for a short period of time
- Open interior doors to keep your home at a consistent temperature
- Keep garage door closed
- Set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees when you aren’t home
Fixing or replacing damaged pipes and water damage can be costly, so it’s important to avoid this frustration with preventative measure.
2. Block out the chill
Seal holes, cracks and other openings to prevent excess cold air from seeping into your home. You can also install weather seals around any windows, doors, air conditioners and mail chutes. To further prevent cold air from leaking through window cracks, you can also replace your lightweight summertime curtains with thermal-lined drapes, which keep your home nice and toasty and can even lower your heating bill.
3. Set back and upgrade your thermostat
It’s recommended to keep your home’s temperature at least 65ºF to make sure your house or apartment is well-insulated. Setting back your thermostat – or adjusting it while you’re asleep or not at home – can ultimately save you money on your energy bills during the winter months. Additionally, most smart thermostats have the ability to automatically reduce the heat when you’re not home and warm it back up when you arrive. If you don’t have the budget to invest in a new thermostat, make sure your current one is working efficiently before the coldest temps hit.
4. Check your furnace
Your furnace blows heated air through ducts that deliver warmth to rooms throughout your home via grills or air registers. Replace your furnace’s filter every three months to make sure it runs as efficiently as possible all winter.
Make sure your home equipment, like your furnace, is protected from loss with equipment breakdown coverage.
5. Clear your roof and gutters
Carefully remove any built-up debris from your roof and gutters, such as branches, leaves, rocks, pinecones and acorns. Hire a professional to clean up the mess if your roof is too tall to reach.
6. Prepare your outdoor items
If you have a basement or access to a local storage unit, set aside your outdoor furniture, hoses, bird baths and delicate lawn decorations. If not, covering furniture with a thick, waterproof tarp secured down works well to keep it protected from the winter elements.
7. Shut off your sprinkler system
Be sure to completely turn off your sprinkler system and outdoor water valves for the season. This will prevent any moisture buildup, which can lead to frozen pipes.
8. Clear your walking paths
If you are a homeowner, you are responsible for shoveling your driveway and sidewalks in front of your property throughout the winter due to local ordinances. If someone slips and gets injured in front of your home, you can be held liable. If you’re physically unable to shovel, call your neighborhood association or contact a trusty neighbor to ask for help.
9. Stock up on winter supplies
- Invest in a sturdy, wide-mouthed shovel and keep it inside your house or garage.
- Gas up and change the oil in your snowblower so it’s ready to go
- Keep sidewalk salt or ice melt and sand on hand to spread on walkways to prevent slips and falls.
- Keep a windshield scraper inside your car is to clear off snow and ice.
- Keep a scraper inside your home or garage in case your car doors freeze shut when parked outside.
Being well-prepared for wintertime in Wisconsin will help keep your family safe, healthy and happy. To learn more about how to properly protect your home this winter, contact your local Rural Mutual agent today.
The information provided in external website links is for general informational purposes only and does not form any recommendation or warranty by Rural Mutual Insurance Company or its affiliates.