BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its winter outlook, suggesting Minnesota and Wisconsin can expect a winter with more snow than usual.

The outlook also says there is an equal chance for below-, near-, or above-average temperatures. Unfortunately, the March, April and May outlook is suggesting a colder and wetter-than-average spring.

Now that you know what’s coming, it might be a good time to get outside and get your house ready for the season ahead, preparing in ways that often get overlooked.

In Minnesota, fall is a season and a verb: temperatures fall fast, meaning there’s work to be done.

Debbie Lentsch, a Bloomington homeowner, has hired some help — starting with the wood-burning fireplace.

Experts say Lentsch is getting her chimney swept just in time. To prevent fires, its best to do it every one to two years.

“It’s a fire, basically, in your house. You just have to make sure you contain it and make sure that it’s safe to use,” said Nick Arredondo with Nick’s Chimney Service.

Arredondo said it’s also key to get a working chimney cover to kill sparks so they can’t travel to the roof.

Another quick — yet often forgotten way — to winterize your home has to do with your dryer.

“[It] builds up lint, and then you have the heat from the dryer itself. So if it can’t escape from there, it heats up and it can start a fire right inside the vent there. It’s called a dryer vent fire,” Arredondo said.

He offers the service but says you can get self cleaning kits at hardware stores. Arredondo also suggests getting you air ducts cleaned so you can get allergens out before the cold rolls in.

“I’m a shorts and T-shirt person — and flip-flops — so the older I get, the worse it gets,” Lentsch said.

But with her fall planning, she will have winter under control.



Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield