Low Cost Door and Window Winterization Tips

Winter not only brings howling winds and snowstorms, but for most families cold weather means skyrocketing energy bills. During the winter months for many Americans, the energy bill is their largest monthly expense!

 

Photo By: TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders

There are ways to help lower that bill. According to the US Department of Energy, drafty old windows and doors account for 25-30% of the monthly energy cost. In other words, if you have drafts then your hard earned money is literally going out the doors or windows.

Of course the best plan of action would be to replace all the old windows and doors, however, that is not practical in the midst of winter. Plus, it is an expensive venture that many families do not have the budget for. So, here are some DIY (Do-It-Yourself) door and window winterization tricks to increase the energy efficiency in your home and help save money.

Locate Those Leaks

The best way to find those energy wasters in your home is with an energy audit. An energy audit is when a professional energy auditor comes to your home, examines each room, and identifies the home’s energy deficiencies. Afterwards, he will give you a list of recommendations of how to fix the problem areas. While energy audits are the best way to find areas that are not energy efficient, they are expensive to have done.

Since not everyone can afford an energy audit, or don’t have time to wait for an auditor, here are some tips to locate drafts and leaks.

On a windy day grab a notepad and go room to room feeling around the windows and outside entrance doorways for cold air seeping in. Use the notepad to take note of where the biggest problem areas are to prioritize and take care of first.

Photo By: Drury Design

Winterization Tips

Once the problem areas are identified, try these DIY tips to help seal the leaks and improve your home’s energy efficiency-lowering next month’s energy bill.

  • Caulk Around Windows – Caulk is the most effective and least expensive way to solve leaks around stationary windows. Since polyurethane caulk can be painted and does not shrink, it should be used for best results. Plus, it doesn’t attract dust and dirt and sticks better than regular caulk.
  • Weather stripping – Unlike caulk that works for immovable areas, weather stripping is used to seal costly leaks around doorways and moving windows.
  • Replace Broken Glass Panes – Carefully inspect each window and door pane for cracks or broken glass. If any are broken, they need to be replaced immediately. They will not only cause you to spend more on energy cost but are also a safety hazard.
  • Add Insulation – Adding insulation to around your windows is a little more complex than the other tips because it will require you to access the area behind the window trim. However, it is a great way to stop air leaks.

If you decide to add insulation around your windows, there are two different types of insulation to choose from -Batt insulation and spray foam.

    • Batt insulation works best if gently inserted – still fluffy – but not overstuffed.
    • Spray foam insulation – be sure to choose the type made specifically for windows.
  • Window Insulator Kits – Another easy to install, budget friendly, effective way to stop leaks around windows is to use a window insulator kit. Each kit contains a film that when applied to a window will last for months. The sun warms the film covered window and produces natural heat that warms the room in an eco-friendly way.
  • Storms for Doors and Windows – If your doors and windows came with storms, use them.
  • Add Thermal Window Treatment – A solution that can be used year after year to stop leaks and ensure maximum energy efficiency is thermal-lined window treatments.

Photo By: AM Dolce Vita

Conclusion

Just by using a few of these tips, you will notice a difference in the family’s indoor comfort and energy bill. However, if your windows and doors are over 10 years old, it may be time to consider replacing them with new energy efficient ones.

AUTHOR’S BIO

Michael Tobias PE is a visionary in the construction industry. His passion resonates as the Founding Principal of New York Engineers, an Inc 5000 fastest growing company. New York Engineers is the most innovative construction engineering firm focusing on Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) engineering designs in Chicago and New York. Michael has overseen the design of over 1000 construction projects in all market sectors, including LEED certified and Passive House certified projects. He leads a global team of 50 top performers.

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5 Foolproof Tips to Make a Small Space Feel Instantly Bigger

Whether you live in an apartment or a condo where you aren’t blessed with extra square footage, or you’ve chosen a smaller space in which to live, there are several ways you can ensure your home feels truly livable!

 

Photo By: Houzz

To see how smaller areas can take on a much more spacious footprint, here are five master design tips and product picks that will give your place the illusion of much larger living quarters.

1. Mirrors Equal Magic

Any discussion on making smaller spaces seem more spacious will inevitably lead to mirrors being mentioned. Why? Because mirrors play with light in a way that allows it to bounce around your space and make it seem bigger than it really is. Mirrors are used by design experts to add dimension and distribute light.

Ideally, if you’d like to make your space seem brighter and bigger, you’ll want to hang a larger-sized mirror directly across from a window. This does two things. First, it reflects the outdoors into your home, making your space seem less enclosed. Second, the mirror acts almost like a second window, reflecting in more natural light and added brightness to make your place appear airier and more substantial.

Photo By: Heydt Designs

2. Take on Neutral Tones

Everyone loves a bold color or bright print. But when it comes to small spaces sticking to neutral tones, variations of white can offer reflective qualities to make it feel more open. Lighter colors on the walls and ceilings can help blur the lines between them and visually draw the eye up, making your ceilings seem higher than they are while adding to the illusion of a bigger space. If an all-white space seems cold to you, don’t fret as you can always accent it with color or textured elements, such as wood, to add a bit of warmth.

3. Rugs to Define Spaces

When it comes to our homes, we usually think in terms of physical barriers such as a wall or screen to delineate which rooms are which. But when living where square footage comes at a premium, it’s usually best to keep your floor plan as open as possible. This is when rugs can be used strategically to separate out or define each living area.

As far as tips go to remember before you select rugs for your home, make sure you choose the right-size rug for your space. A tiny rug can make an already tight space feel even smaller. Also, make sure your pattern and colors complement the areas in which they are placed. Try adding a striped rug to a narrow hallway to create the illusion of a wider space.

Photo By: Houzz

4. Multi-Functional Furniture

Figuring out furniture for your small space can be challenging, especially if you’re looking to maximize room. But with multi-functional pieces, you can create stylish and practical areas in your home without it feeling too cramped. While daybeds and futons might seem like obvious choices, one of the most often-overlooked areas where you can get more utility from your space is the kitchen.

Since smaller spaces tend to have a combined kitchen and dining area, try incorporating a smaller dining set for added room. For example, a compact dining set combines both storage and seating, allowing you to include a bit of elegance and practicality in areas with space restrictions.

5. Lighting is Key

Good lighting is a critical factor in making any space feel bigger, so how and where you place your light fixtures matters. Natural light is critical for any space, but artificial lighting can also make a dramatic impact. If possible, stick to lighting sources such as recessed or wall scones that won’t take up any additional square footage space. If you prefer a floor or table lamp, try using them as both a statement piece and lighting source to perform double duty in a room.

Photo By: Erin Hoopes

Small Spaces Can be Desirable

When properly designed, small spaces can be made to fit any lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to create a great space for entertaining friends or a cozy area for more downtime, the key is to invest in pieces that make a big impact when it comes to style and function. Try incorporating a few of these tips into your design and see your once-tight space transform into something bigger.

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