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Farmer's Almanac Forecast for Early 2017

Posted by Gregg on Nov 29, 2016 4:00:38 PM

farmer's almanacBrrr! The Farmer’s Almanac forecast for 2017 predicts a colder than normal winter for the upper Midwest. Here’s what the venerable (and 80% accurate) almanac has to say:

“Winter will be colder than normal, with the coldest periods in mid-December, through most of January, and in early and late February. Precipitation will be a bit above normal in the east and below normal in the west, with snowfall above normal from Minneapolis eastward and below normal in the west. The snowiest periods will be in early to mid- and mid- to late December, mid-January, and early to mid- and late February.”

So, what can we do, besides pulling out some extra sweaters and blankets? Read on.

Preparing for Winter Weather

At least we know what’s likely coming and can be prepared for colder temps. Here are some ideas for “cold-proofing” your home. 

  • Start with a furnace cleaning and inspection. Having your furnace cleaned and inspected every year is just a good maintenance practice. It will ensure that your system is running optimally and cleanly — and that you have a new air filter. If there are potential problems, your heating professional can often detect them before they become a serious problem — like loss of heat in December!

  • Check your windows and doors. Heat loss from drafty doors and windows can be significant. Start your winterizing by making sure all storm windows are closed. If you have sliding windows or doors, make sure they’re tightly closed and locked. Next, caulk window casings inside and out to eliminate air leaks. Use weather stripping in sashes and door frames. If needed, you can add insulating window film (that applies directly to your windows) or use plastic insulating kits, either indoors or out. These can be especially effective for patio doors that aren’t being used in winter.

  • Home hacks to stay warm. Once you have your furnace, windows, and doors in order, there are some simple things you can do around the house to help keep you warm and cozy through the coming winter. 

    • Close off rooms that aren’t being used or are used infrequently. Be sure to shut off heating vents and install draft stoppers (also call door snakes) to stop air leaks from inside the room. But be careful not to block off too many rooms. If you close off more than a room or two, the reduction of airflow could actually cause the furnace to overheat — similar to having a plugged filter.

    • Switch to heavier drapes or curtains during the heating season. Not only will you be cozier, but it’s always fun to have a decorating change of pace.

    • For year-round use, consider installing cellular shades. They have a honeycomb design that creates layers of air pockets that insulate similarly to a down quilt.

    • Keep drapes and shades open during the day on south-facing windows and doors. This takes advantage of the sunlight. At night, you’ll want to close all shades and drapes to cut down on drafts.

    • Move furniture farther away from windows and doors to avoid chills.

    • For rooms that get a lot of traffic or where the family gathers, electric space heaters can give extra warmth without having to set the thermostat higher.

    • If you have one, take advantage of your wood or gas-burning fireplace, especially on those cold, snowy evenings. Hot chocolate anyone?

Whether the Farmer's Almanac is right or wrong, it never hurts to be fully prepared for a cold winter. After all, our "moderate" winters would require plenty of preparation in most other regions.

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Topics: Heating, Winter