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Preparing now can prevent problems when winter gets serious

WAOW Television

Whether you're a fan of summer or fall, Central Wisconsin was starting to feel closer to winter on Tuesday.

And with temps in the 40's and 50's across much of the state, heaters started kicking on - with them, energy bills and things to do before it gets to below-freezing.

Energy companies say your bill could be around 17% higher this year compared to last.

According to Wisconsin Public Service, one way to cut down costs is by using a so-called 'Smart' thermostat, something you can program to keep the heat lower when you're not home so as not to waste energy on the bill.

They also recommend weather-stripping around windows and doors to stop leaks.

WPS also recommends replacing furnace filters, and to have yours professionally cleaned before it stays on for long periods.

"That way someone can come out and take a look at the furnace and help it run efficiently throughout the entire winter," explained Matt Cullen with WPS.

"Not only that you can see if there are any problems or issues present right now, and have those corrected, instead of heading into the winter and having those problems pop up when the temperature is much colder. "

WPS blames the rising bill on the increased cost of natural gas.

But what about your home away from home?

Campers and RV's need to be winterized properly before they're put away for the season, as a little prevention can save a lot of time, hassle and money come Spring.

Start by checking the seals on any outside, kitchen and shower areas, and make sure to drain the water tanks and let them dry.

Also, unhook any batteries and plugs that might kill it during the winter.

And make sure to get a good cover to prevent both ice and water damage.

"The best is to get an RV cover that's breathable. If you use plastic, don't cover it totally so the condensation doesn't build up inside," explained Mike Gajewski with King's Campers in Rib Mountain.

You should also do an inspection of the roof, to make sure there's no holes or other structural damage that could let cold air, ice or water in.

And look to your snowblowers now - before you need them

Home Depot recommends to get your equipment winterized - including fresh gas, and checking the wheels and augur for signs of rust.

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