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Now is the Time to Winterize Your Home

by Debt Destroyer on September 15, 2008

I live in an old home.  It’s in the historic district of my town.  In fact, when we converted it from a duplex back to a single family home, it was front-page news (tells you a lot about my town).   Another establishing detail you should know is that it gets rather cold in South Dakota.  How cold you ask?  So cold that by February everyone here starts to wonder why we live here in the first place.

And according to several news sources the cost of heating your home this year is going to skyrocket (here is one source).    So if we all take steps now before Jack Frost is nipping at our toes, maybe we can keep our cupboards from being bare come spring.

I bring all of this up, because for the first time in my life, I winterized our home while it was still warm out.

Our weekend project was to reinstall the screen door that was ripped off by a summer windstorm.  Since I’m not Mr. Fix-it, this took me two days.  In reality it only took 4 hours, but while I was out at the store getting four measly screws that I was missing, my wife accepted a dinner party invitation and the project took a backseat until Sunday.

When I got that done, I was so impressed with myself that I decided to tackle another project…the dreaded basement windows.  Confessional time, my Step Dad came over to make fun of my workmanship on the screendoor and it was his attendance that provided the true catalyst for me insulating the windows.

But never-the-less, I now have two less drafty windows to worry about come winter.

Actually, all I did was shove some loose insulation I had laying around (don’t ask), around the frames of the windows. And then put plastic over them.  These are old beaten up windows so there are gaps around them that I should have taken care of long ago.  We looked into replacing them when we did the remodel, but the quote was over a grand and I think we decided to spend that dough elsewhere…like in our monthly heating bill.

As I mentioned above, I’m not handy at all and am the last person who should be doling out advice when it come to this kind of stuff.  So if you want proper tips on how to winterize your home, check out your local energy provider for some some actual tips.  For example, here are the tips that my energy company provides.

Those tips are fine, but I bet the wise readers of The Happy Rock can provide plenty of winterizing tips that would put those to shame.  So if you live in an area where it’s not unusual to have your coat zipper freeze to your lips, please share your favorite winter tips.  Allow me to start:

LONG JOHNS!!!

Until next time,

-DD

Here are two other articles for additional information :

13 Tips To Winterize Your Home(MSN Money)
Winterizing Your Home(About.com)

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Sid Savara September 16, 2008 at 3:49 am

Good to hear that you’re planning early this time, but wow – didn’t we just get to fall? I think you should enjoy the leaves changing color and falling a bit ;)

Although what do I know – I live in Hawaii. Winter for us is something on the order of a 10 degree swing from mid 80s to mid 70s.

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jacquelin September 16, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Do you have access to a few bales of straw? Around here where I live (I live on a farm in an old farm house) we put plastic over the windows (like you did), then put a bale of straw in front of the window.(outside of the house, of course) this helps divert the cold wind. Also, on upper level windows, we have put boards between the outside pain and the inside pain when the winter winds were really bad. You still have the light from the upper part of the window, but, again, the board on the lower part of the window diverts the wind.

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Connie Brooks September 16, 2008 at 1:07 pm

I make “sock monsters” with my family each year. We take old tube socks, and fill them up with cloth, or rice.

Basically we use them to block the drafts under doors, or windows. They are a cute, fun and cheap family activity. If you have understanding family members, then they make adorable Christmas presents form the kids as well.

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The First Creditor September 16, 2008 at 9:17 pm

It gets pretty cold here in upstate New York and we too find ourselves asking, by mid-February, why god, oh why, did we ever choose to live here? The short answer is the wonderful changing of the seasons, but I digress. My advice is not too different than DD’s. Long-underwear, blankets, and snuggly wives. And I guess weather-proofing your windows and doors, and having a programmable thermostat would help too… but I like snuggly wives better.

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John (Debt Defier) September 18, 2008 at 12:56 am

@ Sid – I like the changing the colors of the fall, but not the leaves falling. Just means I have to rake.

@ jacquelin- I know my relatives who live in the country use hay bales, but I’ve never seen it done in town. The boards in the window is a good idea.

@ Connie – Sock Puppets…what a great idea. I think my kids will love it. I know the dog will, which might defeat the intended purpose.

@ First Creditor – Without a doubt, “keeping warm” with Mrs DD is my favorite part of winter.

Here’s hoping for a late and mild winter…but with plenty of snuggling.

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Josef Redaktion September 18, 2008 at 7:56 am

Well honestly, I don’t have any good winterizing tips. Here in Germany, for the past couple of years I have lived in a flat on the third floor. What is nice about this is that heat rises, and heat from our downstairs neighbors’ flats absolutely rises up to ours! Winters can be quite bitter here (although not the snow that it looks like you have there!), and we hardly ever have to turn on the heat.
Congrats on being handy when it comes to windows and doors! I wish you a toasty warm winter in your lovely home!
Cheers!

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gWallet September 24, 2008 at 5:52 am

I hear ya on those pesky basement windows. A few years back I was in a similar situation, and thought, I don’t need to drop over a grand on windows that I’m barely ever going to see/look out of. And sure enough, just like your predicament, we basically paid the same amount to the utility company over the course of the next two years. I finally bit the bullet this July and decided to drop some nice thermal pane windows in there. Looking forward to a nice and cozy winter. In a basement I rarely spend time in. Go figure. :)

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Lesley September 25, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Years ago when we had two years of blizzard winters and the furnace couldn’t keep the house warm we resorted to all kinds of heat conservation. Pick one room to live in such as the family/living room. Close all vents to the other rooms. Hang blankets in the doorways of the living/family room to contain the heat. Use the air dry on the dishwasher and open the door for free humidity to help make the air feel warmer. After using the oven leave the door open for the free heat. I had a shake shingle house that was very drafty. I used clear caulking and sealed around the windows and the shingles.This was a major improvement in the drafts. I am not handy or patient so the clear caulking did not show my mistakes. If the windows are very drafty, use a row of insulation on the bottom half and then cover the windows with plastic. If you have laminated flooring they (pardon me) suck in the winter because they get very cold, use as many rugs as possible to cover them. I swear my laminated flooring radiated cold air back into the room, loved them in the warm weather but they became a problem unless the house was kept at 67 degrees and I will turn the house down to 62 daytime and 55 nighttime. Use an electic blanket to heat your bed before getting in but turn it OFF when in bed. I believe that electric blankets can and do contribute to cancer because of the electromagnetic waves.

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lee @ strategiestosavemoneynow.com October 21, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Yep, it’s a lot more pleasant winterizing your home when it’s still warm out! I live in New Hampshire and it can get pretty cold here too so taking care of a few of those things you mention are important.

Another thing to think about is getting your furnace serviced and a new filter before winter. This will help it work more efficiently and use less fuel which, as we all know, is going to cost a bundle this year!

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Mark November 10, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Thanks for the ideas everyone. I live in an old (1924) farmhouse with an uninsulated attic. Each winter, humid air from the house freezes in the ceiling of the second floor (someone blew some kind of insulation into the attic floor at some point) and the freezing buckles the attic flooring. Also the humid air freezes on all the nails in the attic and then thaws into puddles on the floor. How did folks deal with this in the past, and how can i deal with it now? Just keep humidity low in the house with a dehumidifier? Thanks in advance!

Mark

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Dean the dehumidifier guy May 23, 2011 at 7:54 am

Hi Mark, I get what you mean about the humidity. My house was a lot colder in the winter before I got a dehumidifier. I bought it origianally to get rid of the damp in the basement during the autumn but it really made a difference to the level of cold in the winter too.

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