Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Home This Winter

You’ve got to be tough to live in Wisconsin. We have long and bitterly cold winters. We usually get hit with winter storms that range from flurries to full-blown blizzards. As if that weren’t enough, all of this snow is followed by a cold snap which brings strong winds, ice, sleet and freezing rain. Here are ten tips to prepare your home before the storm hits:

  1. Clean the gutters of your home and garage. Fix any leaks your roof might have. This will keep water and ice from entering through the roof, and prevent ice dams from forming.
  2. Trim tree branches hanging over the roof of any structure. Even a small tree branch can cause a surprising amount of damage after falling 30 feet.
  3. If you have a flat or low pitch roof, hire a contractor to check the roof and ensure it can sustain the heavy weight from accumulating snow, ice, or water if drains on the roof fails.
  4. Check the insulation in your walls and attics, make sure the caulking around your windows are in good shape, and replace any damaged weather stripping around your windows and doors.
  5. Insulate your windows from the inside with plastic shrink film to seal out drafts and increase energy efficiency.
  6. Service all heating equipment and chimneys once a year.
  7. Ensure the exhaust from all fuel-burning equipment (e.g., kerosene or wood-burning stoves) is vented to the outside, and keep the vent clear of trees and bushes. This will avoid the build-up of toxic fumes inside the building. When refueling equipment, make sure to do it outside.
  8. Insulate pipes and (if you’re really concerned about pipes freezing) open your faucets just enough to let the water drip.
  9. If you light fires indoors at all, even candles in a fireplace, make sure you have a charged, recently serviced fire extinguisher and that everyone in the house knows where it is and how to use it.
  10. Know where the main water valve is in the house and know how to turn it off in the case a pipe bursts.