Current mood: chipperBeing green at heart, I try to conserve in any and every way possible. I walk or bus or bike instead of drive, I recycle or compost everything, I replaced as many lights as feasible with compact fluorescents, and long ago put a lot of insulation in my attic. I also drilled several dozen holes on the interior side of my outer walls a few years ago to install blown-in insulation. This house is tight.
The hardest thing to do, though, is prepare all the windows for wintertime. Not long after I bought the house in 1991, I replaced many of the windows, which had wavy, wasteful, single-pane glass that dated to the 1950s or earlier. Unfortunately, I bought on price, and got what I paid for. Even when shut, the "new" windows, most of which date to about 1993 or 1996, let pass nearly as much cold as the old ones.
What I have to do is two things. Three, actually, though the third is simply a good cleaning, which I try to do on those last nice days in October. But here I am, sneezing along with the freezy breezes, and the other two tasks are not done yet.
Task 1: Clay rope. This stuff, easily located at any hardware store, can just be jammed in every crack and space around every window. It comes in brown and grey. The point is to prevent the freezy breezes from getting in in the first place. For those window spaces equipped with storm windows, I find it helps to clay them first. Then I close the inside window and clay that, too. Per window, it doesn't take too long to do this, maybe 10 minutes. Then that window will not be opened until springtime.
Task 2: Clear plastic sheet. I was able to order rolls of this straight from the manufacturer a couple of years ago, but mainly you can buy boxes at a hardware store. Along with double-sided tape, this step fully insulates the window by preventing all outside air from getting in. I apply the tape around the window frame, then measure out enough plastic sheet to cover that space, and chop away. With the inner side of the tape showing, I apply the plastic to the tape, lightly at first, until I have it flat and mainly wrinkle free, then I tamp it down good. Follow this with a hairdryer to eliminate all the rest of the wrinkles. This step takes a while, maybe 20 to 30 minutes a window.
The doors, too, need some attention, mainly clay and maybe other products that are amazingly inexpensive. The plastic costs $10 to $20 a box, the clay about $5, the tape $5 to $10. You will run out of tape first, so get a couple of rolls. I recommend Scotch (red label) because of several factors. It's the most expensive, and worth it.
Once all this is done, though, the difference is remarkable. With the drafts gone, the floors are much warmer. The $30 you spend on the project will be recouped in a matter of weeks, but the comfort level will rise immediately.
So, there you go, a little can go a long way towards making for a warm home when it's ccccccold out!