Saturday, November 23, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside! Winterizing Tips

It's a fact of life in Wisconsin: as the temperature drops, our heating bills rise (and stay plenty high for a good half of the year!). Winterizing your home is a simple way to keep heating costs manageable while also keeping you warmer and cozier. Some big ways you can impact your home's heat efficiency are also expensive: replacing old windows and doors, and insulating homes built before WWII. We're going to ignore those and focus on low-cost and DIY alternatives that may seem small, but can make a welcome impact.

1. Draft dodgers for your doors and windows:
Photo credit: A Little House in the City Blog
You can purchase these through online crafters via Etsy, on large retail sites, and in stores, but you can also DIY for fairly cheap. Blog tutorials abound on how to create draft dodgers; all you need are the materials to do it and basic sewing skills. Some (like A Little House in the City) use rice as filler while others use beans, dry popcorn, or quilt batting.

2. Pick up a window insulation kit, caulk, and weatherstripping.

If you're not in the market for replacing your windows, then these three things will help make them as efficient as possible for keeping warm air in and cold air out.

3. Switch your ceiling fans to "reverse."
Photo Credit: Look Up/Hunter Fan Company
This may sound silly, but if your ceiling fans have a reverse switch, use it! The clockwise motion of a ceiling fan on a low setting forces cool air up and warm air (which sits along the ceiling, because heat rises) down.

4. A little insulation in the right places goes a long way.

If you have a house built before WWII, you might not have insulation. In these cases, even if you can't afford to insulate your entire house, consider hitting the "easy" places: the attic floor and the basement ceiling. Up to 25% of heat loss occurs through the roof and 15% of your heat goes into the ground. Insulation can greatly reduce those numbers.

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