Reports broke across the news this week of a decline in sales for winter-related items. Sales for just about everything from boots, and sweaters to firewood and fuel oil are down from the same period last year.
The companion news is an exceptionally warm winter so far. It has been one of the warmest starts to the winter season for years. Compared to the past few brutally cold and snowy winters it has been downright balmy across much of the lower 48 in the U.S. But no one should kid themselves that cold weather is not coming. The first day of winter does not officially start until December 22, 2015.
Homeowners that were thinking about making energy home improvements in the fall may see this mild start as a harbinger to a warm winter. News of an El Nino influenced warmer winter is only one factor and cannot lead to finite predictions. A leading NOAH director had this to say about winter weather predictions:
“A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “While temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are favored, El Niño is not the only player. Cold-air outbreaks and snow storms will likely occur at times this winter. However, the frequency, number and intensity of these events cannot be predicted on a seasonal timescale.”
Rest assured, it will get and stay cold in the colder climate zones, and those with under insulated and poorly sealed homes will feel it most and for the longest periods. Waiting until the cold hits will likely be too late to get improvements made in time. CIMA has seen consistent trends over the years showing a spike in demand for insulation products as the first hard blasts of winter hit the nation. That triggers the demand with insulation contractors and other weatherization companies. With the recent resurgence in housing starts, many of these companies are already experiencing high demand. Homeowners trying to react to the weather, instead of planning for it, will likely be in for a long wait getting winter weatherization improvements completed.
Plan ahead now by getting your home energy improvements scheduled. This blog and the CIMA website has a wealth of information for consumers including DIY tips on how to get ahead of the curve (and reducing the cost) by preparing for an insulation installations. The site also has an Insulation Contractor Referral Service to help homeowners find insulation contracts that specialize in cellulose insulation.
So get a move on now while others are lulled into inaction by the warm spell. Then, when the cold comes, you can bask in the warm glow of your home, and envy of neighbors who waited too long to seal and insulate their homes from old man winter.