Weatherizing Your Home
Winter is right around the corner. This means Minnesotans will soon be bundling up, enjoying hot cocoa on a cold night, getting back to ice skating, sledding, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and many other winter activities. Unfortunately, the cold weather also means using more energy to heat our homes and higher heating bills.
One way to combat the cold is by weatherizing our homes. There are a number of projects we can do around the house that can save hundreds of dollars. The Minnesota Energy Challenge website (www.mnenergychallenge.org/) offers a number of helpful ways to prepare your house for the winter to conserve energy and save money:
• Get with the Program – Program your thermostat for smart heating and cooling (and lower bills)
• Seal Attic Bypasses – Seal attic air leaks allowing heated air to escape from your house into the attic and wreck havoc.
• Two Degree of Savings: Heat – Turn your thermostat down just two degrees in the winter to stay comfortable and save money.
• Put a Damper on it – Close your fireplace damper to prevent heated air from escaping your home
• Bats in the Attic – Insulate your attic for big energy savings and comfort gains.
• Upgrade Your Boiler – Replace your 20+ year old boiler with a shiny new efficient unit.
• Do the Twist – Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs that use 75% less electricity and last 7-10 times longer.
• Upgrade Your Furnace – Replace your 20+ year old furnace with a shiny new efficient unit.
• Deck the Halls with LEDs – Use LED holiday lights to light up your winter celebrations without lighting up your utility bills.
• Fine Tune It: Furnace – Cars get tune-ups every few thousand miles – your furnace needs a tune up every fall.
• Wrap It – Use plastic window kits to keep your home nice and cozy in the winter.
For additional information on these projects, visit www.mnenergychallenge.org and click on “Winter Preparations.” Once there, you will find information on why you should do it, how you can do it, and how much it will cost.
As we search for ways to improve our energy consumption, every little bit helps. I encourage you to take a weekend and tackle some of these home projects. If you or anyone you know needs financial assistance with heating bills, visit mn.gov/commerce/energy and click on “Financial Assistance.” The site offers information on grants and loans, rebates and credits, and weatherization assistance.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions about any issue. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.