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I never heard the term polar vortex until a few weeks ago. If you live in the northeast or anywhere around the great lakes, you are probably very familiar with the term now as well. In layman’s terms a polar vortex is big cold front that moves down into the US from Canada, causing extremely low temperatures – so low that you might feel like you up and moved to Antarctica. Ok, so maybe I embellish a bit. But it is freeeeezing!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be getting hit with 3 cold fronts back to back, making this the perfect time to talk about ways to keep your house warmer. You can of course, pay a lot of money to get new windows (or ship all of your stuff to sunny Hawaii), but I’ll share some easy ways to keep the cold air outside where it belongs and stay toasty inside.
The single most important thing you can do is to seal off any and all drafts in your home. Weather stripping and caulk tends to break down over time, leaving little cracks for cold air to enter your home. To determine if you have any cold air seeping into your home, walk around with a candle. If the flame flickers near a window or door, you have a draft. (Be careful around the drapes!)
So how can you weatherproof your home without breaking the bank? Let me count the ways!
- Replacing the weather stripping around all doors. It’s really easy, quick and cheap.
- Use caulk to seal any cracks around windows, doors and baseboards.
- Use foam outlet sealers and outlet plugs (yep, like those needed to babyproof) to insulate and keep any cold air from within walls from entering the rooms.
- You can find very stylish thermal insulated blackout curtains on Amazon for about $45 a piece.
- Easy-to-install plastic window kits can help to increase the efficiency of your windows by 90%. And for less than $2 per window, that’s a great trade off. Most are easy to apply and clear so it won’t look tacky either.
- Use plastic or special attic covers to seal up entrances. You can get cheap reflective foil insulation for less than $10 or an attic pull down stair ladder cover for about $150.
- Hardwood floors also leak air, throw down some stylish rugs.
- Use a draft dodger by all your exterior doors. You can buy one that moves with the door or simply roll up a towel.
- Turn your blinds up creating a tighter seal to help seal out cold air.
- Adjust ceiling fans so they move clockwise (when looking up at them) to push warmer air down.
BONUS TIP: Don’t forget your basement. You can use plastic to cover the windows and add weatherstripping around the door to your basement to keep the cold air from creeping up.
These tips work just as well for summer too, so if you do it now, you should see a decrease in your electric bill throughout the winter and summer! If you do nothing else this winter, the top 3 weatherproofing tips below will help to to eliminate the biggest heat suckers in your home! Happy caulking!