Winterize and Ready Your Home for Winter Weather

Winter is here in the north, and if you can enjoy the smell of fresh winter air near your doors and windows, it’s time to winterize!

Drafty doors and windows blow in the cold and leak precious, expensive, warm heated air. You can save yourself big bucks on winter heating bills by spending an afternoon winterizing your home.

Take a walk around your inside space. Anywhere you can breathe fresh, outside air is a place your house is losing heat; that means you are spending money to, as your mother might say, “heat the outdoors”! If you have some extra cash to invest in your home, adding insulation and new technologically superior windows, that’s the way to go for the most efficient and long term fix to the problem. But home improvement projects are expensive, and can take a long time to complete. To keep your cash in your pocket, you need to do what you can now.

There are several products on the market that can quickly and simply be used to close up drafts to winterize an older home, and they can all be found at any local home center, hardware, or department store.

Spray foams sold in aerosol cans work wonders to seal up spaces in wall seems and around drafty window doors and frames. They come with a straw-like attachment for spraying into small openings. The contents expand to insulate your space and seal air leaks to winterize your home. Any foam that escapes the wall can be easily trimmed away using a razor knife, and the dried foam can be sanded and painted to blend the foam into your decor.

Many older homes enjoy the look and authenticity of single paned and lead glass windows, but they do little to keep out cold winter air. One way to winterize single paned windows is to cover them with one of many shrinking plastic window covers. Applying a shrink-wrap winterizing window plastic is a process of applying double sided clear tape to the window frame and attaching a pre-cut sheet of plastic to the tape. Extra plastic is trimmed away, and the winterizing plastic cover is then heated with a hair dryer. As the plastic shrinks, wrinkles in the plastic are smoothed away, leaving you with a nearly crystal clear additional layer of window protection to winterize and keep out the cold.

Older homes with stone foundations can benefit from a well known northern winterizing technique known as ‘banking’ the house. Banking is an old school way to winterize your home, prohibiting cold winds from blowing through basements by lining the outside of the foundation with hay bales, leaves, or another barrier. Home centers also sell a thin role of foam insulation designed for this winterizing project that covers holes more completely and can be used with or without the use of an additional banking product. Sealing holes with mortar can provide a more long-term way to winterize a foundation.

Doors and windows should be winterized along the frames where the door or window closes in the frame if there are drafty gaps when they are closed. Rolls of weather stripping are available for this winterizing project that can be applied using a staple gun, and others are sold with a sticky-tape side for fast and easy application. It is a good idea to lock all windows in the house when you winterize you home to be sure they are closed as tightly as they can be. Caulking should be used along the frames to close up gaps. Don’t forget that decorative draft stops in a variety of motifs can be used along the bottoms of windows and doors, too.

Major, expensive home improvement projects are not a readily available option for everyone, but there are many fast and easy, inexpensive products on the market that can be used to winterize your home. Block drafts where heat is lost and save yourself big money on your heating bills this winter by taking an afternoon to winterize your home. You’ll be warmer and richer for your winterizing efforts.

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