Keeping the house warm

Hey all! Are your kids back in school yet? Mine isn’t. :) I actually love the extended break but I know many of my friends are losing it and are READY for them to go back. We’re on day three of missed school because our roads are so awful – it’s been too cold for the salt to even work. Today we’ll hit a balmy 30 degrees so I’m thinking the kids will go back tomorrow.

We got the coldest temps I can remember earlier this week – so cold there were icicles hanging from inside our windows and frost on the door knobs (inside) – it was intense. I think we got to –40 wind chill one night.

We had icicles inside, but our house did stay a consistent 67 degrees the entire time – I’m actually surprised our furnace did so well. So many of my friends had houses that were cold because the heater couldn’t keep up, or it just gave out all together.

In preparation for the cold I hit up the hardware store last weekend and grabbed a few things I think helped, just a little bit. For some reason some of this stuff has intimidated me for years, I’m not sure why. But I found some easy, cheap ways to insulate that I wanted to share.

Our new back door is one area I hit hard. For the most part we haven’t felt too much air coming through the sides of it, but there were a few areas I needed to address. One was a small hole that was created when they reinstalled the trim on the floor – the hardwood floors were pulled up in a spot and it made a big gap in the wall. The cold air was literally pouring in through it.

It was too big to caulk so when I found this stuff I knew it was perfect:

foam tubing for insulating

It’s called caulk saver – I just cut little bits of it off and stuffed them in the hole on the floor:

It’s easily squishable – I stuffed about four pieces in before it was full:

filling gaps for insulating

If I wanted to hide it I could caulk over it, but you really don’t notice it. I’m sure I’ll find spots to use the rest of it – maybe on the garage door?

These jobbies aren’t new to me – I’ve actually used them for years now, but I picked up a few more:

outlet insulators

Have you ever felt your outlets or light switches on an exterior wall in the winter? If so you’ll probably feel cold air coming in. It’s not a ton, but we have a bunch of them on exterior walls so I’m sure all that cold air adds up.

You just take the plate off and then push them on:

outlet insulation covers

Then just put the cover back on – that’s it! It’s probably best to turn off the switch or outlet at the breaker if you’ve never done this. You’ll still feel some air coming through the actual holes of the outlet but there’s not a whole lot you can do about that, as far as I know.

So the door insulation stuff is what has intimidated me, that foam stuff with the sticky side -- you know what I’m talking about? You peel off the paper on one side and then stick it inside your door frame to insulate.

Well we have a security system and I always wondered if that thick foam would mess with the sensors. And if down the line the foam got messed up it would be a BEAR to get off – that sticky stuff leaves a residue forever.

So when I saw this I knew it was the solution:

door insulation

It’s felt insulation and I got some tiny nails to nail it into the door frame. I figured at least with this I could always fill holes if I had to remove it down the road.

The whole door didn’t need it – it was just about three feet under the knob where I was feeling some air:

door insulation

It took about two minutes to install and it’s held up great. (See all that snow? Yeah.)

I also put new corner seals on each door as well – they go at the top and bottom of the door frame where air sometimes gets through:

corner seals for doors

You just stick them on – easy!

And of course, tried and true caulk works wonders too:

caulk for insulating

The trim on other side of the door had a small gap that air was coming through so I caulked that up:

caulking to insulate

They have different colors if you don’t want to use white, but I was just using what we had on hand.

All of this stuff was about ten bucks and I still have plenty left over. Of course this helps in the summer to keep the heat out as well. I just use my hand to feel for drafts but I’ve seen a trick where you can use an incense stick to see where you have drafts coming in – you watch the smoke to see if it blows around.

Did you get hit with this intense weather? The 40’s this weekend sound positively heavenly – it’s going to feel like spring! Have you used any insulating tricks in your home?