Fall is a pleasant time of year with it’s beautiful colors and the nostalgic crunch of dry leaves underfoot. It’s also the time when wind begins to blow and the temperatures start dipping–and that’s when I start thinking about how to keep the precious heat that I pay for inside the house where it belongs!
There are many long term improvements that home owners should consider to make their homes more energy efficient when it comes to heating (or cooling for that matter). When Yankee Bill and I moved into our bit old 1890’s house with it’s 9 foot ceilings and original windows the first thing we did was to replace all but 2 of the windows (one that was leaded glass, the other stained glass) in the house with modern replacement windows. That cost us a couple of thousand dollars and was factored in to the amount we requested on our home loan. Other long term improvements include having insulation blown in or laid and changing out older furnaces and/or hot water heaters for more efficient models, or installing a different method of heating your home (ie wood, pellet, coal etc). These things can cost a pretty penny, and while many of us plan to make changes eventually, we have to live in our homes today.
Perhaps you don’t own a home, but live in a rental. Saving on heating costs and conserving energy are just as important to the environment and your pocketbook–but you aren’t going to spend your hard earned money improving someone else property–non permanent weatherproofing options are best for renters.
That’s why Duck brand and Walmart asked me to share some simple, inexpensive ways anyone can weatherproof a home or rental and start saving money today!
The key with winter weatherproofing is to keep the heat in and the cold out. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? To be effective you have to think about where in your house the heat is leaking out (and the cold is blowing in!). Windows and doors are obvious–but where else does your home lose heat? A little trip into the Walmart home improvement department to look at the Duck weatherproofing products might highlight some areas you haven’t even considered!
Did you ever think about insulating hot water pipes or your hot water heater (think about it–you use energy to heat the water, the longer it stays warm the less energy you have to use to reheat it)? How about the entrance to your unheated attic? Or your air conditioner?
Here are a few basic products that most homes will find useful: Duck Socket Sealers, Duck Shrink Film Window Kit (10pk), Duck Double Draft Seal, Duck Premium Roll On Window Kit, and the Duck Faucet Cover.
Let’s start with the faucet cover. Now a faucet doesn’t actually cause your home to lose heat–this is more in the line of “preventative maintenance”. If you faucet is full of water and freezes you could cause some costly damage. Most homes are built with a shutoff valve somewhere in the basement along the pipe leading out to your faucet. You need to close that in the winter so that no water can run to the faucet. Then you open the faucet and let the water drain out and LEAVE IT OPEN. This way if there is any water left in the line that freezes and expands it has somewhere (the open end of the faucet) to expand out of. Finally you can place the foam faucet cover over the exterior for some extra insurance.
Next let’s look at the double draft sealer. Take a look at the door in my kitchen that goes to the basement on the left below. See that light? There is about 1/4 inch of space completely open under the door. Since my basement runs about 40 degrees or less all winter (we run a pellet stove upstairs to heat so the furnace is rarely on) I’ve just got heat leaching out of my kitchen all day every day. The Duck double draft sealer is two foam pieces (which you can cut to fit) held inside of a stretchy fabric cover. It slips over the b0ttom of the door and a roll sits on each side blocking the draft.
Electrical sockets and light switches are another unexpected spot for heat loss in your home. Think about it–you’ve got a hole cut in your wall with a metal box behind it–rarely is any of it insulated. The socket sealers are easily installed thin insulating seals. You simply remove your outlet face plate, place the sealer on it, and reinstall the plate. This is actually another thing I did right after we moved into the house–I installed them on all of the outlets and light switches (it took about 3 boxes to get the entire house)
Although we haven’t used window film kits in our current home, when we were active duty service members we used them multiple times in houses we rented to weatherize. The film is easy to use and very clear–you barely notice that it’s there! Here’s a quick video from Duck showing you exactly how it is used.
One final product we have used in our home is weatherstripping and caulk. These products are great for sealing up all sorts of gaps and little leaks in your home–places where an old window doesn’t meet the frame as tightly as it should, or where you can feel a draft around the edges of a door frame or window frame. I like to use the Duck rope caulk as a residue free way to seal up all around my original double hung stain glass window on our stairs. You just roll it out and press it in, and in the spring you just peel it off!