The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping. Is your home prepared for the cold months ahead? If not, don’t worry. We have a few weatherization tips to get your home winter-ready.

Weatherizing is the process of improving a structure’s ability to retain heated and cooled air. This involves tightening the building’s thermal envelope, or the physical separator between the inside and the outside conditions. Insulation, multi-paned windows, and storm doors are all examples of a home’s thermal envelope.

There are many benefits to weatherizing your home. It makes your home healthier and more comfortable, helps keep moisture out which protects the structural integrity, increases home value, and prevents wasted energy.

John Mickles of Northern Energy Services applies spray foam insulation. While weatherization can be expensive, there are many effective strategies to weatherize a home. Gregory Rec file/Press Herald

Air conditioning and heating are the largest consumers of energy in most American homes. With the increasing costs of electricity and heating oil, weatherizing your home is better for your comfort and your wallet. While weatherization can be expensive, there are many effective strategies to weatherize your home without breaking the bank.

Insulating and sealing the attic. Maine has one of the oldest housing stocks in the country with 24 percent of homes built before 1940. It is not uncommon for attics in older homes in particular to be uninsulated or under insulated. Since heat rises, the attic is one of the most common places for heated air to leave your home.

Sealing leaks and adding insulation to the floor or ceiling of the attic will greatly reduce air transfer between your home and the outdoors. These efforts alone can save you up to 8 percent on your annual energy bills. You can perform attic sealing and insulation yourself, but if you do, make sure you wear the appropriate respiratory protective equipment, especially if working with fiberglass insulation.


Preventing air leaks around windows and doors. Windows and doors are two common sites where heat leaks occur. Caulking and weather-stripping are two easy and inexpensive ways to reduce heat loss in your home. Caulk is generally used for air leaks between stationary fixtures, such as door and window frames. Weather-stripping is used on fixtures that move, such as the window or door itself. These two simple methods provide the biggest bang for buck, usually paying for themselves in energy cost savings within one year.

Installing storm windows. Over time, windows become less effective insulators and their seals weaken, allowing outside air into the home. If you want to improve the efficiency of your windows, but do not want to pay for a full window replacement, storm windows could be a great alternative. Storm windows are inserts that go either on the interior or exterior of your window, creating a tighter seal. They cost significantly less than a window replacement and you can install them yourself.

Storm windows range from simple removable inserts with a sealed film, to low-emissivity storm windows that are coated with a layer that reflects infrared back into the home. When deciding which option is best for you, you will want to consider your budget and the efficiency of your windows. No matter which type you choose, storm windows will help improve the thermal envelope of your home.

Regular maintenance of your heating and cooling systems. Regular maintenance of heating and cooling systems keeps them operating efficiently. Regular inspections and cleanings help prevent and catch

issues early before they become a bigger and more expensive problem. Well-maintained systems don’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature in your home, resulting in lower utility bills. Make sure you schedule routine service for your heating and cooling systems and replace furnace and heat pump filters as needed.

Weatherization resources


For more information on DIY home weatherization projects, please check out the Department of Energy’s Do-It-Yourself Energy Saver Projects at

If you’re interested in a larger scale weatherization investment in your home, check out the rebate opportunities through Efficiency Maine at Additionally, you can find a list of both state and federal incentive opportunities through the Department of Energy’s Rebate Finder tool at

Interested in helping others with home weatherization? Check out the local Window Dressers groups.

Window Dressers is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization that builds low-cost insulating window inserts for residents in northern New England. For more information, check out If you’re interested in joining the Portland Window Dressers build this February, sign up at

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram @soposustainability.

Susan Parmelee is sustainability program manager for the city of South Portland. She can be reached at 207-347-4147. 

Comments are not available on this story.