Batten down the hatches!

For those of you who live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, you know that the weather is not all unicorns and rainbows. There is nothing like a week of torrential wind and rain to expose all of the structural flaws in your aging home and this last couple  of weeks  has seen me lose more than the normal amount of hair worrying about just how much money it’s going to take to get my house brought up to 2016 standards.

Don’t get me wrong, my roof is in great shape so it’s not like we have leaks or anything. It’s morel like when the wind blows and I stand near a window, door, or anything else that opens to the outside world I can literally see the dollar signs flowing out of the not quite airtight casings. At the moment a complete replacement of my windows and doors is not in the budget. So I thought I would research how to snug up a house on the cheap and share my findings with you all.

One easy way to see if hot air is escaping ( or cold air intruding) is to hold a lit candle in front of windows or doors when the wind is howling outside – it should be easy to see if you have an issue. Proper windows and doors should ideally be completely airtight – that flame shouldn’t be dancing. If it is – like every single window in my house – then we have to take some action. Here’s what I suggest:

  • Two words – weatherstripping and caulking. Applying weatherstripping and caulk to your windows can go a long way towards rectifying the energy sucking vampire. If you’re not super handy like me – practice on some windows that aren’t readily visible to visitors – I did the windows in my garage first then moved on to more prominent windows. weatherstripping goes in the big gaps – caulking for tighter spaces.
  • For doors – if there is a gap at the bottom of the door you’re going to really feel it in the winter. Invest in a draft stopper ( check it here on wikipedia). There a few different types – the sand filled “socks” that just lay on the floor in front of the door or the type that you screw into the bottom of the door – you just slide it on and affix – really simple and the style that I prefer.

Overall these are some really easy and cheap fixes that can be taken care of in an afternoon. I would consider them temporary fixes – as new windows tend to be much more efficient that older ones and I would consider new windows/doors to be an essential part of an overall renovation – but when you’ve got limited funds you have to prioritize. Most home improvement sites I researched quoted a 10-15% increase in energy efficiency could be realized by following the above recommendation. So for a short term solution, it should pay for itself very quickly and help you save up for the rest of the house!