Episode-231- Weatherproof The Home For Winter

Tony Teolis/ February 1, 2014/ Preparedness/ 2 comments

        

I’m grateful for listening to a friend three years ago motivate me to insulate my home as well as I did at that time. The three winters since that time were not nearly as cold as this winter of 2013-14. The past few winters made the presence of drafts in the home known enough but not to the point where I felt further insulating was necessary. Yet this past December I was fortunate to spend some of my spare time preparing for the many cold days and nights we have had in January. The awful polar vortexes caused temperatures to drop to levels well below zero for days at a time. Northern Virginia hasn’t had cold like this in over twenty years!
There are still many cold days ahead and although i need to get on the ball with starting plants from seeds I first needed to warm the home. The video in today’s episode shows some of the steps I took in December to make it a home warm home. I did not have to spend nearly as much money as I did when I added a lot of insulation three years ago but it was an investment in time that has been worth it. Every winter the drafts in my kids’ rooms and my bedroom as well as in the green room where I start plants would not have been bearable this winter.
I began my energy audit by taking a lit incense stick and placing it near every crack and crevice where cold air was disrupting our comfort. On every window in the home except for the bay window in the kitchen I put up that plastic sheeting that you tape and blow dry in place. I’ve always been skeptical of that but not anymore. It may seem flimsy but it works and doesn’t wear out. At least not yet. When I ran out of that I used 4 mil plastic typically used for painting on the basement windows and in the green room. I also put up heavy drapes in the green room in hopes of helping the plants that will soon grow there have a chance of successful starts.
Along openings between the rafters in the laundry room I put up lots of insulation to stop the big drafts that were making that room at uncomfortable for us. I placed weatherstripping around the outside storm doors and put draft guards under the inside doors. I even went as far as placing insulation between the basement storm door and main door.
What a difference all that work made! The thermostat doesn’t go above 70 and at night we lower it to 64. The only reason we set it that high is to prevent the lower level from getting too uncomfortable. To better manage the use of the heater I will cover up the bay window in the kitchen and the sooner I do that the better.
So if you’re cold and spending too much on the heating bill this winter get with it and do a heat loss check around your dwelling. If you live in the southern hemisphere get some of home warming needs now and you won’t regret it 6 months from now. The only issue unanswered is whether or not I will remove the plastic around the windows because I don’t want to repeat all this work again next winter. Stay warm and stay tuned.

Resources

Song of the Day –  Widespread Panic – Live For What It’s Worth

2 Comments

  1. You always inspire me to take things up a notch. The insulation between the screen door and main door which is not really used is genius. Sealing up the unused gas fireplace is also probably saving you a bundle.

    In my basement I’ve not gone over the top with insulation as we have not been spending time there but as we move toward a remodel I’ll be looking to insulate between the floor joists and outside wall — thanks for the tip.

    Be careful to not kill every draft though as your house does need to “breathe” and exchange air to some degree. A friend just discovered that his attic insulation (from a previous owner) had blocked the attic vents causing sweating and mold issues up there.

    1. Unfortunately there still is a bit breathing going on at ground level but that’s acceptable. Your caution has saved me a few bucks by not sealing off the bay window. It’s probably also saved me the “What are doing?” look from my wife 🙂 Also, on a good note I can’t get to 2 of the attic vents. Let me know if I can help with the remodeling.

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