A Single Mom’s Frugal Tips: Saving Money on Winterization

8 Inexpensive Ways to Winterize your Home or at Least Feel Like You Did:

1. Shrink wrap the windows: In both newer and older homes, the majority of heat escapes through windows and doors. If you have storm windows, this is added protection and if like me, you don’t, this is a far less expensive option than getting them. I priced out storm windows for my house at around $65 per set (one window’s worth). Plastic sheets…around a dollar each, tape included. I managed to just borrow a hair dryer.

2. Weather strip, especially around doors: On a sunny day, close the blinds in a room with an external door and see if you can see sunlight around the door. If you can see light, you have cold air coming in and warm air leaking out. Strips of weather stripping are cheap, effective, and widely available. If you don’t have a storm door, you may also consider this as an option. They run between $85-$100 new, but you may be able to find one used.

3. Cover your vents until you’re ready to turn the heat on: I don’t know about you, but my basement is COLD. I don’t need cold air from the basement coming into my house through the heating vents. I picked up some relatively cheap magnetic vent covers until I’m ready to turn the heat on. To save even more money, make your own vent covers, Glad Press And Seal works well.

4. Bring out the throw rugs: While adding area rugs doesn’t particularly add to any sort of insulation properties…it makes walking on the cold floors much easier and can help you avoid turning up the heat.

5. Skip the ventilation fans if you can: Exhaust fans in the bathroom and over the stove suck out heat along with smells and steam…use minimally.
6. Bake! If you like to cook, now is the time to start using that oven. You’ll warm up at least your kitchen at the same time.

7. Get your furnace serviced or at least change the filter yourself: A clogged up furnace filter drastically reduces the efficiency of the furnace. Why spend all that money on heat and not get the most of it.

8. Insulate, insulate, insulate: Check your basement for air leaks to the outside. There are several brands of gap filler available that are very easy to use. You simply apply small amounts of the filler to any gaps or holes, much like you would apply caulk and over the next several minutes or hours, the fill expands to fill the hole (up to a point, obviously).

There are many other cost effective winterization techniques, but cost-effective doesn’t necessarily mean doable on a small budget. The above will give you some bang for your buck without breaking the bank.

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