Monday, October 1, 2012

The Wonders of Weather-Proofing

Just a sampling of my insulation ammo
With Fall and soon Winter just around the corner, I felt it would be prudent to write about one of my most important secrets for keeping the winter heating bill low, and your overall comfort high.  What is this profound secret?  It won't surprise you to know that I am an avid fan of winter-proofing my house.

Up in north country, winter can be particularly harsh.  It's kind of sad to be thinking about this topic, but soon enough, snow will be on its way and if you're not prepared, you could see $400/month heating bills.

My Wife and I live in a house built in 1927, so you can imagine all the old cracks and poor insulation.  We just moved into this house last year, and luckily for us, it was one of the most mild winters on record.  Being that it was such an old house, most of our first floor windows were single pain with old storm window for some semblance of insulation.  Two of our windows couldn't even shut the whole way due to years of crazy painting.  This coupled with doors that didn't seal all the way made for some drafty hallways.

To begin remedying these issues, the first step was to install some plastic window covers over all the single pain windows.  The general process is to lay down some of the packaged double-sided tape, drape the plastic, and then begin tightening.  The final procedure involves using a hair dryer to shrink wrap the window.  This will create an air gap between your house and the window which essentially acts like another pain of glass.  Since my Wife doesn't own a hair dryer, we used a little fan powered space heater to do the job.  Our neighbors probably thought it was pretty funny to see me waving around a space heater like a magic wand, but I had a job to do.  This little tick alone saved us a bunch of money, and you could just feel the house begin to retain its heat better.  Furthermore, most of the drafts were taken care of.

Next was to seal up the doors with some double-sided foam strips.  All of these products can usually be bought at a home improvement store, and they are relatively cheap.  These foam strips were only a couple dollars, and I wedged them in between all the doors we would not be using this winter.

Next, I bought some of the foam electrical socket insulators which are surprisingly effective.  I only used them on the electrical sockets that are in a wall which faces the outdoors, but the result is noticeable.  It's actually quite impressive how much energy is lost through these non-insulated sockets.

Finally, the last step we preform is to close off any rooms we don't use by shutting the doors and turning off the radiators.  They won't freeze as they still get warmth from the rest of the house, but there's no reason to heat them if nobody is living in them.  The hardest part for me is to remember to turn them back on when guests arrive.

All in all, these little steps should save you big bucks throughout your winter season.  Oh, and those windows that didn't shut...we got those replaced with argon-filled replacements.

Wonderful Moment of the Day: Making a roasted chicken dinner.

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