Friday, 28 October 2011

Winterizing Your Home

As the weather in my part of the world gets cooler, it is time to start winterizing. We live in an older house right now, and the windows are 1940's and 1950's originals. I say 40's and 50's because the house was built in two parts. The original construction has 10 foot ceilings, while the addition has 8 foot ceilings. The windows however, are not the latest in energy efficiency.

The first winter we lived here we put plastic on the inside of the windows, but quickly learned it would have been good to have it on the outside as well. When the northwest winds blow, our kitchen and living room are cool; when the southeast winds blow it is the bedrooms and bathroom that feel the chill. To avoid paying a $500.00 gas bill each month, we take measures to keep the wind from blowing through the house. The biggest places we lose our heat is the windows.

The inside windows will get their new layer of shrink wrap this weekend; possibly even this afternoon. I think this is one of the best inventions anyone in a cold climate can utilize. It is available in almost any hardware or department store, and is easy to apply. Be sure your window frames are clean and free of dirt, dust or grease otherwise the double sided tape won't stick and the plastic won't stay in place. When you are ready to install the plastic, carefully place the tape on the window frame first. Do not remove the paper on the topside of the tape until you are ready to put on the plastic.

When you are ready for the plastic, remove the paper from the tape. Ensure your plastic is cut at least 2" larger than your area to be covered; this will allow for any minor miscalculations (and believe me, it does happen). Apply the plastic film as evenly as possible. There is no need to stretch it at this point, just be sure it will cover the area. Once it is secured to the tape, use a hair dryer to shrink it so you have a clear view of the outside. The shrinking also helps with the insulating qualities by not allowing drafts to stretch the plastic. If in any event the wind blows hard enough to stretch the plastic you can always reapply the hairdryer.

Along with the windows doors are also a prime spot for drafts to come in, especially in older homes. Now is the time to replace weatherstripping that has cracked or peeled off. Also be sure the door sweeps aren't cracked or broken so drafts can't get in. Sometimes it is difficult to prevent 100% of the drafts getting in under the door, so you can easily make a draft stopper.

To make your own draft stopper measure the width of your door, and add 4". Cut a piece of fabric (this can be any type; denim or corduroy work best) the length of your measurement by 8". Fold it in half right sides together, then stitch along three sides using a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn the tube right side out and stuff with fiberfill, fleece scraps or bits of quilt batting. Stitch the end and place at the base of your door. This will help keep the heat in and the cold out.

An old but simple trick to finding out where your drafts are is to hold a candle near the window and door frames. You must be very careful doing this so you don't accidentally get too close to curtains or blinds. The last thing you want is a fire! It is best to remove them before doing your draft check. Also check around outlets, as they are another source of drafts. Outlet insulation is available at your local hardware store.

I am off to winterize my about you?

Have a great day!



  1. I really enjoyed reading your tips on winterizing your home. As a toprealtorinCalgary I am always looking for tips to share with my clients on how I can help them save money by being proactive with one of their biggest investment.

    Thank you and keep up the good work.

    Trisha Gopaul

  2. Thank you Trisha! We know our Alberta winters can be nasty, so any drafts kept out is money saved.