Weatherproof your home-winter

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Well its winter. I've been looking around the house to see what more I can do to keep it warmer for less cost. I would really like anyone else to post some crazy ideas here. I like ... crazy, but it works and its frugal, ideas, ha.

Some of mine are temporary ideas, that this summer, I'll do some caulking...this house is older and the old caulking has dried up, cracked broken off so I needed a quick fix this year. I've stuffed paper in the gaps around the inside of the windows between the sashing and such to stop the cold air flowing into the house. I've covered some of the windows on the inside with bubble wrap (I had read about this being done in greenhouses). It seems to be working, I'm thinking a second layer would be even better. This house has the transit openings above the doors into the bedrooms (they don't close) instead of heat ductwork, the two rooms I'm not using, I've covered those up and put some plastic grocery bags stuffed under the door...gets really cold in there, so that is working well. I noticed today I didn't think to cover the key hole...yep, lot of cold air coming out of that!

need More ideas! need More ideas! Thanks! tish

waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

There is aerosol cans of foam you can squirt into gaps, around the foundation and windows, but you have to be careful because it expands REALLY fast and gets very big.

Lee's Summit, MO(Zone 6a)

Don't forget to buy outlet covers for the unused wall plugs on any out-facing walls - a lot of cold air seeps in from those. If you have ceiling fans, put the switch in the down position and run them on low - draws the heat, which rised, back down to the floor area.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Seal around pipes where they enter heated space. I've use paper tape to seal doors and such temporarily.

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

Don't use the expanding foam around windows. As it expands and hardens, it can warp your windows, causing them not to open or shut properly and even stressing the glass to the point of breaking. But it is great stuff (even the brand name around here is "Great Stuff" as proof, LOL) for sealing large gaps. But around windows, use silicone. And around baseboards and smaller gaps, use caulk.

One thing I did when I built my house was insulate every outside wall and the attic. I also switched from natural gas to all electric. I was spending a fortune for gas, and that was back when it was 1.50/gal. My average monthly electric bill during winter or summer is around $100.

There are insulating curtains you can get that help block some of the cool air that comes from windows. If you ever feel of a window in winter, it feels cold from the inside even tho your house may be warm. The insulated curtains help keep this coolness from stealing your heat. In the summer, these curtains help block the heat that would come in. I think some mini blinds may do this as well.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Insulating curtains are good and if you can open them on sunny days, it will let the warm in. Then close them as the temps drop. Blankets will also work in a pinch till you can buy curtains. And if you have shades or blinds, they will help somewhat.

For quick and economical fixes, if I feel a draft under a door, I roll up a throw rug and put it against the crack to block the draft.

I like to wear flip flops and notice a cold draft quickly.

There was a spot where cold air entered under the toe kick of our fireplace. I kept feeling a cold draft when the fire was burning. Out came the duct tape. It is up under the edge of the toe kick, out of sight and effective. No more draft. Duct tape ~ 1003 uses.... lol

One of the best homemade insulating materials you can use is repeating layers of tin foil and newspaper. I would take your transit openings and cut a piece of cardboard to fit, then add layers of foil and newspaper to insulate it and use that to stop the cold air exchange.

Many years ago when we moved here, a lot of the old houses were poorly built and even more poorly insulated. You could see the chickens that were under the house through the cracks in the flooring. lol At that time I worked for a retail store and we had many folks ask for our large cardboard boxes. They would lay them and newspaper on the floor and then buy an area rug or lay a piece of vinyl flooring over it. The cardboard would help insulate the floor.

As I despise being cold, I'm sure I'll have more ideas if I think about it... lol Good luck & stay warm! Kristi

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks everyone!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Over time the weather stripping in my exterior door facings deteriorated leaving a visible gap between door and facing. I could see light through the gap and, worse, in winter the immediate area around both front and back doors was quite cold. At the time, I was suffering through a period of extended unemployment during which I was trying to avoid all but the most essential expenses. Then one day the idea hit me...

To create a free, makeshift weather stripping that would keep the elements out, I grabbed a few cut down boxes that I had been planning to take to the recycling center. Using a ruler (for straight edge), a box cutter, and some basic glue, I cut strips from the cardboard and glued them to the door facing in the area where the old and now worn out weather stripping had been. It took a minute or two with the 1st strip (alternately opening & closing the door w/strip in place to insure a good fit) to get the width just right. After that the work went very fast as I glued strips of cardboard end to end around the inside of the door facing.

The entire project, front and back doors, took under 30min, cost $0, and the result was visible only briefly when opening/closing a door. Even then it was not overly obvious (and could have been further obscured with a coat of matching paint). The fit was perfect, even a bit tight. The best news of all, it worked wonders to block the draft. I did this project in winter, and as soon as I finished the 1st door and closed the door, I could instantly tell a HUGE difference. No more cold draft. After that, the temperature around the exterior doors was indistinguishable from the rest of the house. No more cold zone around the door.

If you try this, I recommend placing your 1st strips above and below the place where the bolt lock goes from door to facing. This can be the trickiest spot to get right, so you want to put one of these strips (above or below lock) in place 1st and make sure the door will still close and lock before you continue. The tricky part here is because many doors have a little 'play' in this area, and often the lock and the hole it goes through in the facing are not lined up exactly right. Thus you may need to alter the width/placement of the cardboard strip in the area around the lock to allow the door to close and the lock to function. Once you get these two pieces right (and are still able to lock the door), the other pieces will go up in minutes. (It's no where near as hard as I make it sound. It's really quite easy.)

I put the cardboard weather stripping in place in winter of 2010. At the time I said I would replace it with the 'proper' stuff as soon as I got a job. It worked so well and was so unobtrusive that I never did. It's still in place on both doors and still working fine. I even documented this in a thread with pictures at the time if anyone is interested. I believe the thread is in this forum.

(tish) near Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

That is a great idea. I also think interior doors of rooms that are closed off could use this cardboard too! Thanks for this very frugal tip! tish

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

You're very welcome. It has worked well for me for a couple years now. Hope it works as well for you. It should work well on interior doors, too, any door really.

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