Tips for the Home Heating Season

The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) helps low income households meet home energy needs.

  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Wisconsin requires a smoke alarm on each floor level. A smoke alarm should also be installed next to your furnace.
  • Make sure that your furnace is working properly. Inspect furnace flues, pipes, and chimneys. Contact Madison Gas and Electric, Alliant Energy, or a heating contractor if you have questions. In homes with gas furnaces, carbon monoxide detectors are strongly recommended.
  • Change filters at the beginning of the heating season. Then, check them monthly to make sure there is adequate air flow.
  • If you have to leave your home empty for several days, keep the thermostat set at 55 degrees or higher. Have a friend check your house to make sure it is warm enough to keep your pipes from freezing.
  • If you will be away for a long time, you can also shut off and drain your entire water system. Consider having the water shut off at the street, removing the water meter, and draining the plumbing.
  • Be aware of homes in your neighborhood that might be vacant. If you think the plumbing might be unprotected for the winter, contact the Water Utility.
  • If you believe your pipes have frozen, turn off the water at the main valve to your home and call a plumber.
  • Make sure the water line to outside faucets is off, the hoses disconnected, and the line drained.