Living in a drafty older home? Trying to conserve energy? Heat bills got you down? Feels like it’s just flying out the windows, doesn’t it? Every day a new energy saving appliance comes along. Problem is, you can’t afford them. It takes every nickel and dime you have just to keep a roof over your head. Plus, your old house is frigid! Here’s a few old time methods for conserving energy and staying warm in winter. They work just as well as newfangled inventions, but cost considerably less.
Old homes usually have single pane windows.
Replacing them costs a small fortune. So does your energy bill. What do you do? Cover windows in plastic from November through May. Don’t use that thin plastic window film they sell in stores. Get a roll of high quality drop-cloth instead. It’s thick enough to act as a second pane. Open your blinds. Place plastic over them and the entire window frame on the inside. Use wide tape to hold it and seal the edges. Enough light gets in to heat the house during the day. All the drafts and condensation will disappear. At night, close your curtains for privacy.
Heat rolling out the door?
They’re pretty drafty, right? What good does it do to cover the windows if you don’t do something about the doors? Luckily, there’s a cheap solution. Make draft blockers for the doors. Stuff a nylon stocking leg with fabric. Tie it at both ends. It’s a brilliant energy saving solution for those with older homes. Best of all, it’s practically free. Want something a little more attractive? Check your local home store for double sided draft blockers you can fasten to the bottom of the door. They cost less than ten dollars each.
How about that drafty attic?
Older homes might have several energy zappers. Do you have a roof mounted swamp cooler or whole house fan? Some of these can be covered with a tarp to protect against drafts. Be sure to seal all attic vents and attic entries with plastic each fall, just as you did the windows. The vent for whole house fans will have to be covered as well. Does your attic lack adequate insulation? Still have those moving blankets? Staple them to attic walls and floors to block cold air and keep heat in.
Your hot water heater and deep freezer are in constant use.
Did you ever consider covering them to save energy? This is an old time trick that keeps bills down all year. You can buy insulated covers for your hot water heater and freezer in home improvement stores. If those aren’t in your budget, use blankets. How does this work? The covers hold in the cold or heat so these appliances don’t come on as often. When covering your hot water heater, be sure to secure the blanket or cover away from the pilot light and other operative parts. This prevents fire and keeps the pilot burning steadily.
How about those cold floors?
Not everyone can afford to heat or replace them. Consider the use of throw rugs. Throw rugs keep drafts from coming up through the basement. Have you seen the price of rugs lately? Check estate sales for good deals or make your own using old clothing scraps. How? You just braid them together, coil and stitch. Your newly protected old house will be quite cozy in the winter thanks to old-fashioned ingenuity.
Portions of this article were originally published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.