tips, topics, info and insight to help you save money and make our world a little greener

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Draft Dodgers

We, along with most of the country, have been experiencing  REALLY cold weather this past week. Our furnace has been working overtime, even though we have it on a timer, keep it set no higher than 68,  and don't heat our bedroom on the attic level. Despite our frugal, energy-saving efforts,  we're  not looking forward to seeing the next gas bill.  I'm always interested in ways to keep our house warmer without turning up the thermostat. Here are some ideas:
  1. add or replace weatherstripping to windows and doors. This link lists the types of weatherstripping available, the best uses, the advantages and disadvantages and the comparative costs.  Weatherstripping can deteriorate or  become dislodged over time, so this isn't a once-and-done solution.
  2. look for air leaks on outdoor walls behind light switches, electric outlets,  phone jacks and cable junctions. These leaks can be plugged using various types of insulation including foam gaskets. Just make sure whatever you use is fireproof and meets building code regulations.
  3. remove window air conditioners for the winter. If you can't remove it, wrap the unit in an insulated cover.
  4. consider using an efficient electric heater in the room or rooms you spend the most time in, rather than turning the heat up throughout the house.
  5. make sure the damper on your fireplace fits well and is closed whenever the fireplace is not in use.
  6. close blinds, curtains and draperies at night to keep warm air from escaping.
  7. add a few rugs, even over wall-to-wall carpet. This is especially helpful if the space below is unheated, or if the room is on a slab.
  8. leave the oven door open after you've baked something, and you've turned it off to let the warm out into the room. However, NEVER use the oven to heat the house. 
Sitting by the fire, while not always frugal, and not particularly green, is another way to beat the chill. What house-warming strategies are you using this winter? Please share.


  1. If you really want to stay warm and save on heating bills, close up the house and come out to Santa Cruz.

  2. not fair!!! you do you have the perfect climate.

  3. We have an electric fireplace. Hardly ever use it. Really wish I had spent more $ on better windows when we renovated a few years ago. Going to buy weather stripping tonight.

  4. Good quality windows can make a big difference in keeping the cold out and the warm in. The weather-stripping should help. Good luck with that. And let me know if it helps.