Whether it’s your first winter in the Midwest or you’ve been battling our iconic cold months for a lifetime, there’s a particular art to balancing your attempts to stay warm with those moments where you really embrace the ice and snow. From Detroit to Chicagoland, a few tips can help any homeowner or renter do a great job of preparing for a Midwest winter—and not just surviving but thriving once it arrives.

Keep it cozy.

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Fortunately, furnace repair in Chicago is easy to come by. Your friendly neighborhood technician is ready to maintain your furnace and overall heating system across the Chicagoland area and beyond. And come summer? They’ll be ready to repair your air conditioning, too! For now, though, their furnace repair service has to be top of mind. In addition to bringing in an HVAC contractor, be sure to change your furnace filters and bleed your hot water valves or fill your gas tank, if applicable. The last thing you want to deal with on a cold winter night is your heater malfunctioning! You’ll have a much more difficult time finding a new furnace or last-minute furnace repair in the height of winter, too, so you’re much better off preventing these HVAC issues before they start.

Embrace something cool.

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Anyone in the Chicago area or the Midwest more broadly knows all too well that the region’s winter season is plenty cold. But with the furnace blaring and hot cocoa in hand, you might just find you have to cool off a bit regardless. Besides, lifelong Midwesterners know that the cold doesn’t bother us anyway—you’re just as likely to see gym shorts as winter attire as you are parkas and boots! Consider investing in an ice maker machine for a countertop in your own kitchen, ready to cool down a seasonal cocktail in an instant. With instant ice, even a first-time winter bartender can seem like they have years of experience!

Dress up.

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Speaking of winter wear, how is your cold-weather wardrobe looking? Plenty of folks in Chicago and the surrounding areas are not just used to snow and other elements of the colder months but thrive in winter weather, even when others would assume they‘re unprepared. Even so, this isn’t the case for everyone. If you’re a little less tolerant of the cold, consider upgrading your winter wardrobe. Stocking up on high-quality parkas, boots, sweaters, and mittens can help keep you warm all winter long—even when you aren’t tucked snuggly in front of your new furnace.

Stay safe.

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Cold air isn’t the only risk that comes with the winter months. Ice and snow are arguably some of the most dangerous weather conditions you can encounter. Walking, driving, or just plain existing, even the most experienced winter warrior could face the sorts of crises that come from hypothermia, frostbite, falls, skids, and collisions. As you prepare for an upcoming Midwest winter, be sure to take safety-focused precautions, too. Stock up on emergency supplies, keep an eye on your local forecast and be sure to have a backup plan available whenever a crisis could potentially rear its head.

Midwest winters are as notorious as their practitioners, who are known around the globe for their confidence in the face of even the nastiest storms of the season. However, with a bit of preparation, even a brand-new Midwesterner can be ready to thrive all winter long. Make sure you have enough ice for your favorite seasonal cocktails and the batteries and other emergency supplies to get you through a more severe crisis. Call your local furnace maintenance service to ensure your heating system is ready to fight the elements no matter the forecast ahead.