Winterizing your home, whether it is a rental or your own, can save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars every year in utility costs. Many individuals and families out there don’t really have the resources or the ability to hire a professional to install new storm windows, insulation, eliminate drafts, etc. Never fear, The Minus Factor is here to help. For under $75, you will be able to prep your home for the coming winter months.
Make-shift Storm Windows – Storm windows provide a huge amount of insulation for one of the most problematic areas when it comes to keeping your house warm in the winter. If you do not have storm windows or cannot afford them, here is a fairly easy and cheap solution: use Visqueen, plastic sheets similar to trash bags.
Hardware stores often have different types of Visqueen, and there are advantages to different kinds. If you can find clear Visqueen (which I could not), then you will still have full use of the window. Translucent Visqueen will allow light to pass through, but will be foggy. Translucent Visqueen is usually cheaper than clear Visqueen. The final alternative is black. While this will no longer allow you to use the window to see out of your house, nor as a light source, it will provide the most insulation, as well as gather heat from the sun to help warm your house. Another option is the Frost King Window Insulation Kit, which you can find more about by clicking HERE.
Preparation will help this project be much easier, especially if you are applying the make-shift storm windows to the outside of your house. To properly prepare, measure out your windows that you will be using, add 5 inches to each side, and cute your Visqueen to the specifications. Also, if you have chosen to apply the Visqueen to the outside of the windows, remove the screens (if you have them).
We will be putting the double-sided tape all around the window sill (this can be done on the inside or outside of the window, but I would recommend doing it on the outside). The first step is to clean the area off where you will be affixing the tape. Use the Windex, and allow plenty of time for it to dry, 5-10 minutes should be plenty. Once the surface is dry and clean, apply the double-sided tape all the way around the window, but don’t remove the backing on the tape yet. Give the double-sided tape 15 minutes to properly adhere to the surface.
Now you can GENTLY remove the backing from the double-sided tape. Next, take your pre-cut Visqueen, and start applying it. I have found that it is easiest to start in one of the top corners and work your way across the top first. Try and make it as tight and wrinkle free as possible, as this will help the Visqueen stay attached, as well as look much nicer. Begin working your way down one of the sides, then the other, making sure the Visqueen is firmly attached to the tap. Then go across the bottom. If you have screens (and you are applying the Visqueen to the outside of the windows), reattach them now.
Congratulations, you are well on your way to saving money this winter.
Caulk It! – A caulk gun and caulk can be purchased at your local hardware store relatively cheaply. With a caulk gun in hand, you can survey your house for any cracks or gaps that may be allowing air from outside into your house. Be sure to have paper towels with you as well, as caulk can be quite messy if you don’t control it well.
Insulate Unused Windows – Small rolls of insulation can be purchased at any hardware store, and can be incredibly valuable. Even if you have used Visqueen on your windows, as discussed about, you can also put insulation in the window. I would especially recommend this if you have any windows that you do not use for light. There are several ways you can apply the insulation, you would but the insulation between the window and the screen (if you have them), or even if you have used the Visqueen, or you can law it across the window and tape it down around the edges. I would recommend Duct Tape, as this will do a much better job holding the insulation in place.
All of these home improvements can be performed in a day, including purchasing them. The benefits could be huge in terms of both your electric bill, as well as your comfort during the cold winter months. In these times of economic stress, you have no excuse not to help yourself out.