Tips for Home Winterization

Winter weather will be coming to Wisconsin before too long, so now is the time for area homeowners to prepare their homes for what can be a harsh time of year. Homes can be winterized with these tips from Callen professionals.

Tips for Home WinterizationOutside

  • Homeowners should make sure they have the necessary tools for the season in good working order: shovels, ice melting salt, and a roof rake for removing snow from the roof to help reduce ice damming issues.
  • Checking windows and doors for air leaks should start with a visual inspection of the exterior. Where the old caulking has failed, there will be a gap between the window or doorframe and the home’s siding. If your home has single-paned windows, look for damaged glazing, which is the hard putty that holds the individual panes of glass in place.
  • Clean gutters of any debris, which could add to ice damming issues. Consider seamless aluminum gutters and larger aluminum downspouts to reduce the amount of ice build-up and the possibility of leaks and damage.
  • Water is the enemy to your exterior chimney. Water getting into the masonry, freezing, and then causing failure gets costly to fix. Make sure the concrete cap or crown on the chimney has an overhang and is not cracked.
  • Make sure the flue that vents your furnace and water heater has the proper size liner in it, and that it is in good condition.
  • When the ground freezes, animals that normally seek shelter and food underground may instead cause damage to trees and shrubs. Flowering crab trees and burning bushes are especially susceptible. Protect plants with either wire or netting across or around the plant.


  • Check your furnace filter and replace it needed. Now is also a good time to have the furnace inspected and tuned up.
  • Regarding the air conditioner, turn off the breaker for the A/C and clean it thoroughly and properly.
  • It is necessary to make sure the fireplace chimney is clean from soot before using it this season to prevent a chimney fire. Also, be sure you close your fireplace damper when not in use. Otherwise the heat you are paying for while running your furnace is going up the chimney.



Prep Your Home for Winter

Callen Blog - Prep Your Home for Winter 102615The cold weather may already be upon us, but it is important to tend to winter preparation and repairs before the year’s first snow. Getting your exterior ready for the cold winds, snow, and ice is important for keeping your home warm, lowering energy bills, and making your home safe in the winter months. Here are some tips for getting your home’s exterior winter ready.

1) Schedule a professional furnace tune-up. A certified technician can perform a cleaning and inspection of the system to ensure safe and efficient operation all winter. Getting the job done now is much more convenient than waiting for a repairman in a cold home with no heat!

2) Clean the chimney. A clean, well-maintained chimney ensures you can safely enjoy cozy fires throughout the winter. A chimney sweep knows how to remove soot and creosote build-up, substances which can cause potential fires and damage to the chimney itself. Check the fireplace for drafts. If it is cold despite the damper being closed, the damper may be warped, worn, or rusted. Consider installing a chimney balloon into the flue to air seal the area.

3) Caulk and weatherstrip. Stop air leaks by caulking around windows and doors. Ensure that doors and windows shut tightly; if not, install weatherstripping to keep out drafts. Replace screen doors and windows with storm doors and windows. Inspect your windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps and replace or repair if needed.

4) Check the attic. Poorly insulated attics are a notorious source of heat loss within a home’s building envelope. Ideally, a properly insulated Wisconsin attic should have enough insulation to provide an R-value of 50 (or about 14 inches, depending on the material). The R-value indicates the insulation’s ability to resist heat transfer.

5) Clean gutters. Be sure gutters are clear of clogs that could allow rain and snowmelt to back up and freeze, causing damage to the roof and gutter system. Make sure downspouts extend away form the house by at least five feet to prevent flooding of foundation and water damage from snowmelt.

With the right winterizing improvements, it’s possible to avoid winter headaches and cut your heating costs nearly in half. For assistance with many exterior improvements, including the installation of the Gutter Topper protection system, call Callen today at 414-529-5509. Our experienced professionals will visit your home and do a thorough inspection of your windows, roof, gutters, or any other area of concern. Discover for yourself why we are considered the best roofing and remodeling company in southeastern Wisconsin.