by Staff Writer
Why waste your money on heat that just leaks out of the house? You can save money on your heating bill significantly if you make your house as airtight as possible and control your heating consistently. For example, winterizing your windows can help you save money and the environment by using less gas heat, electric heat or heating fuel. If your windows are very old or drafty, you may want to replace them with new energy-efficient windows; however, to work with what you have, you can follow a few steps to minimize your energy loss and keep your home warm and comfortable all winter.
Evaluate your windows. Check for airflow at each window. If you have a friend handy, he can light a candle and stand outside the window. Blow air with a fan or hair dryer around the edges of the window and watch for the flame to flicker outside; if it does, make a note that there's a draft at that location.
Seal exterior holes on window frames. Work on a dry day with moderate temperatures. If the existing caulking is cracked or damaged, dig it out with a 5-in-one tool prior to applying new caulk. Use silicone caulking to seal all gaps around window frame on the outside of the house. Smooth the caulk line with a damp finger. Wipe off any excess caulk. Finally, apply wood filler to holes or cracks in window trim. After the wood filler is dry, sand it lightly to smooth the surface.
Seal interior holes on window frames. Again, choose a dry day for this chore. Begin by caulking gaps as needed where the frame meets the wall. Then caulk the gaps in the seam where the sill meets the frame.
Apply weather stripping. Following the manufacturer's directions, apply weather stripping to the windows at the openings. Then place weather stripping around each exterior door in the home.
Cover the windows. If there are still drafts, cover windows with shrinkable plastic. Cut plastic to size with a razor knife. Using heavy-duty double-sided tape, attach plastic over the window. Use the heat of a hairdryer to shrink the plastic on window for a good fit.
Install a programmable thermostat. Many of these are designed for homeowners to use. Program your thermostat for the lowest temperature you can stand at night, a medium temperature when you are likely to be gone for the day and a comfortable but low temperature for when you are at home. Put extra blankets on your bed to compensate for the lower temperature in the evenings.
Hang insulating curtains at each window. Thermal curtains have a backing that blocks heat from escaping through drafty windows. Block drafts that seep in under doorways by placing rolled-up towels against the foot of closed doors.
Laugh when the heating bill arrives. It might be higher than you would want but not as high as it would have been without all of the hard work you put into preparing your home for cold weather. Now that you know how to save money on your heating bill, you use some of your extra cash to make your home even more comfortable by online shopping at Overstock.com. Your online outlet for low prices has cozy bedding, soft sweaters and even energy-efficient space heaters to keep you comfortable when the snow falls.
When you are working on upper-level windows, be careful to set your ladder on a solid, stable surface. It is best to work with a friend who can spot your ladder.