Friday, November 9

Frugal Home Winterization Tip

Knock KnockHere's a quick experiment for you to try. On a cold day move your hand around the edges of your door. I'll wait while you go and do this...

So, did you find a soft cold wind around any edges or corners? If you live in an older home, or perhaps a neglected rental, then the odds are good that you will.

Guess what, that cold wind may be invisible, but it's money! It might not feel like much, but with cold air flowing into your home 24x7, you are wasting a lot of heat energy. Maybe you haven't noticed but the cost of heating oil, or other alternatives, has not been getting any cheaper lately.

Anyway, the attached picture is an example of a recent home project of my own. You might not be able to tell but I'm using a thin plastic foam instead of a clear plastic film. If you look closely you'll see (yeah, sure you will) that I've cut small slices in the foam and used painters tape to hold it in place. This is surprisingly useful.

Tip: Cut a slice in the foam then sneak half a strip of tape through. Half the tape will stick to the object behind the foam while the other half will hold the foam. Be careful not to damage the material under the foam when you cut the slices into it.

Again, looking at the picture, you'll see that the foam covers the entire width of the door which allows it to block air flow around the door. Yes, the door does still open - the foam is flexible! Can you guess what I used?

Nope, it's not that.

It's hardwood floor underlay. You can buy rolls of it at your hardware store at a reasonable price since it isn't sold as a seasonal winterization kit. The painters tape will obviously be there too.

This door was the first project and I've since covered a couple of windows as well. Obviously, the plastic foam is translucent instead of transparent, so don't use it anywhere you'll want to look out of.

Finally, I'd give you another experiment, but you probably don't have any thin foam lying around the house. If you do, put your hand on a cold window and see how much heat it absorbs from your hand. Then, put a thin layer of foam over the window and do it again.


Want to see my other winterization tips?

Frugal Guy said...
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Anonymous said...

Some people wrap thier doors in plastic do you know if that helps?? They make all kinds of cheap insulating tape that is helpful too. Other things are fire places (spark house fires easier) and if people have a stove put in they can burn old wood out of thier backyard. Good luck everyone!! Annette P.S. Thanks for the great advice.

Anonymous said...

I consulted a hardware store and they said foam beats plastic 100%. Annette

Anonymous said...

Okay...I don't understand how you still use your door with the foam covering it from side-to-side? It looks like it is attached to the doorframe. If it is attached to the door do you use the door? (We use all the doors in our house.)

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Annette,

The foam covers the door and frame, but is attached only to the door.

This lets the door open (inward towards the viewer) while still covering the edges of the door.

The door closes flush to the frame in this case - so it just works out perfectly.

Your mileage may vary... ;)

BHurlburt said...

The best winterization tip could offer is that I bought a wood stove and now I don't worry about small air cracks, I leave the door cracked half the time. Amazing, the thing heats the entire house and all I have to do is chop a little wood and it is free heat. If you have access to wood, get one, they have really come along.

I wrote a little ode to my stove here: