Monday, November 17, 2014

Ideas for Winterizing the Home!

I'm enjoying the cold...
and hoping it doesn't get this cold...
or at least that we don't have any ice storms this year!
We're in the middle of getting the house ready for another Michigan winter.  Paul has begun covering the windows with plastic and I've been raiding my heavy fabrics to come up with thick fleece curtains to plaster over the windows.  

Layers have been big around here.  So far the plastic and then felt and then fleece layered rooms do seem significantly warmer, and I think that will be even more true once the ancient downstairs windows are covered, some of which have cracks and holes in the glass (that were here when we moved in and that I imagine will be here when we move out... I'm not hopeful that they'll be replaced anytime soon).  

We did manage to get the entirely missing window in the basement replaced this summer and that (along with the cat) has helped us see a major disappearance of mice from the entire house.  Paul has also replaced the weather stripping on the front door, which also seems to be making a huge difference.  

I'll admit I'm hoping for a winter not at all like last winter.  I mean, I like winter and snow, just not the kind of winter where it hurts to breath outside for like six months (okay that's a slight exaggeration on how long it was cold-cold but still... only slight).  Our first winter in Michigan felt mild... and our second winter... well... at least I was reassured by long time Michigan residents that they hadn't experienced anything like it in the last fifty years (so it wasn't just my wimpiness). 

Do you have any old house weather proofing tips that you'd like to share.  Since it's not our house we won't be replacing the windows or doing anything majorly structural, but indoor tips for helping keep the gas bill down this winter are greatly appreciated!  I'm trying to think of everything that I possibly can to keep it warm and keep the cost of heating this place from going through the roof.  


  1. We use heavy curtains to blockade off certain rooms. For example, our kitchen and living room are connected, so we hang a heavy curtain across the dividing entrance way. Then, we use a space heater to get the living room comfortable without having to turn the boiler up too high for the kids and me. Then when it is time to eat - we just eat really quickly! :)

  2. Have you tried using calking around the window sills? Sometimes there's leaking around the window. If you have any vents outside your house (like where your water hose comes out or your furnace/dryer vents) calk those too.

    If you have a crawl space (like an attic), insulate it. Insulation is pretty cheap. And insulate the top of your basement. I know you've got flooding so my guess is that your insulation may not be in the best of shape down there.

  3. Door/window draft blockers are very easy to make; I imagine the kids could even get in on it!

    Take a nylon stocking leg and stuff it with fabrics scraps--you know, the little, impossible-to-use-for-anything ones that you generally throw away. Stuff it *tight.* Then place it at the base of a window or door. It insulates that particular area. If you want to use it on a door that gets open/closed more often, then you can glue two "legs" down a strip of fabric as long as the door is wide, leaving a couple of inches between for the door. (You want a tight fit.) Then slide the fabric strip under the door, leaving one "leg" on each side.

  4. Katherine: Great tip for homemade under-the-door draft stoppers! I love it!

    One thing to do is check with smoke (a stick of incense works) where air is coming in around the windows, baseboards and doors and even light and electrical switches. If it seems to be a big leak, plug it (even with pieces of newspaper shoved into cracks with a screwdriver) to help cut down on drafts. Pieces of foam rubber (I've used a cut up old foam pillow) will fill the space best.

    One thing you might not be aware of is that many of the older homes have absolutely no insulation between the outside walls and the plaster inside walls. That means the cold comes right through the walls and chills the home. There's really nothing you can do about that, but in medieval times, they covered the castle walls with tapestries to help!

    God bless. ~ Bonnie

  5. In the olden days, before Franklin stoves, people used to line the walls with tapestries and carpet the floors to help with heat loss. If you have spare blankets, hang them on the walls to create some insulation. Also, hang thick curtains between rooms so they can be closed to keep heat in one room.


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