Conservation Minnesota

Winter Prep

kristin harriet 3By and large, Minnesotans fall into two categories: People who embrace winter, and people who endure winter.

Whether you strap on your skis the moment there is enough overnight frost to slightly aid your path, or if you’re the type who starts stocking up on soup and Netflix recommendations the first time the temperature dips below 40, there are things we can all do with relative ease to make sure our homes are ready for winter. And with the unseasonably warm weather predicted to stick around at least a few more days, now is the time to start looking at some last minute home winterizing projects.

In the category I would classify as quick and easy, there are a few things that even the least handy of homeowners should be able to tackle: filling gaps around leaky window casings with rope caulk, applying shrink-wrap window treatments on drafty windows, and checking to make sure all exterior outlets have gasket seals and safety caps behind outlet plates on exterior walls. Doing even simple tasks like this can dramatically improve the winter weather preparedness of your home.

Some mid-level projects that are similarly helpful in increasing the winter-readiness of a home include weather stripping exterior doors, caulking or spray-foaming gaps in the exterior of the house, insulating rim joists with spray foam or foam board and caulk, and installing a chimney balloon to prevent heat from escaping and cold air entering through an unused chimney for a wood-burning fireplace.

If you really want to reach the expert level of home winterization, air sealing and insulating your attic is a great start, as is checking to make sure that your damper is working at maximum capacity, if you have a wood-burning fireplace.

A great resource for getting your home ready for winter is the website for the Center for Energy and Environment. CEE is an organization that administers programs to help homeowners prioritize their home energy savings opportunities and get us on track toward year round comfort and savings.

Regardless of where you fall on the winter enthusiasm spectrum, even completing a few of these tasks before the first snowflake falls should help you save money on your energy bill, which will mean more money for ski wax (or microwave popcorn).

About Paul Austin

Paul Austin
Paul Austin has 23 years of public service as an elected leader, advocate and political strategist, Paul Austin brings a rare combination of skills and experience to his position as Executive Director. At age 25, Paul was elected Mayor of Clinton, Connecticut – the youngest in state history. Paul has served as Executive Director of Conservation Minnesota since 2004.
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