With New England weather, we can never be sure how quickly the season is going to change, 77° and sunny one day, 50° and cloudy the next. Preparing early in the season for wintery days will save you energy costs when the frigid days come along. Taking some extra time, with the right materials and tools, DIY insulation is a great way to keep your heating bill low this season.
The first step in starting this process is to go through each room in your home. Take note on any air leaks around windows and doors. Once you’ve taken down any problem spots, take measurements of the areas so you know what you will need for materials to fix the spot. **If you have major air leaks, you may want to consider replacing windows or doors. If that is the case, it is more beneficial to contact a professional to maximize your energy saving.
Ok, back to the DIY work, with your measurements, head on over to your closest home improvement store. Look for heavy-duty plastic sheeting. The sheeting comes in large rolls. The plastic sheeting is a great material for affordable insulation. Start installing the insulation by cutting squares of the sheeting a few inches bigger than the window you are fitting. Tightly secure the plastic to the window frame with either a staple gun or thick tape. If your windows are still drafty after installing the plastic insulation, you may want to into thick window shades to block drafts.
Next, check your baseboards. If you have gaps on baseboards you can fill them with caulking to fill the leaks. Also, if you have a fireplace, make sure you close the escape when not in use. **Be sure to reopen before you light a fire!
If your home has wooden or laminate siding, any cracks can cool air in and warm air out. If you find any of these leaks a simple fix is to caulk the gap. *Worried about caulking color? Large home improvement stores will have the most selection, but you can also but clear caulking. If you plan on ever painting the area where you have applied caulking, do not use a silicone base.
Check your doors! If you can see daylight under doors leading outside, air is definitely leaking out of the area and you are letting cold air in. Door sweeps are inexpensive and easy to install to block drafts. To install, mount the hard edge a tiny bit above the bottom of the door and let the rubber part sweep the floor when the door is opened. Another way to fix door leaks is to get weather striping. Older doors and windows either lack weather striping or the striping has deteriorated over time. At the larger home improvement stores there is a great selection of different shapes and sizes of striping.
Maintaining and cleaning heating equipment will also help to keep costs down. Replace furnace filters regularly and if there are any irregularities contact a professional, these irregularities can cost you more in the end.
**Keep in mind, when you are sealing the house up for winter, you are putting yourself at an advantage for summer too. The heat stays in the winter and the cold stays in in the summer.