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Three Effective Ways to Winterize Your Home

Install Radiant Barrier Foil, Add Shrink Wrap to Windows, Prevent Frozen Pipes

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Radient barrier foil_on a vaulted ceiling for energy efficiency

Radient barrier foil_on a vaulted ceiling for energy efficiency

This article was updated on 08/28/20.

Anybody who’s been paying utility bills for a while knows that there is no way to anticipate when or by how much the cost of fuel oil, electricity, and natural gas will rise. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as our good friend Benjamin Franklin told us. Let’s take a look at three ways to winterize your home so you can save money regardless of what the energy companies do.

Install Radiant Barrier Foil or Paint in the Attic

Every month more people are waking up to the knowledge of the money-saving benefits of radiant barrier paint and foil. Just put it in once and save money on your cooling and heating costs from this point forward. I did both the paint and foil years ago and have saved money every month since. It is not unusual for us to break 100° in the summertime.

Attic Radiant Barrier Solutions

First coat of radiant barrier paint in the attic You’ve got two choices of thermal applications. As I said, I’ve actually got both in my home. First you’ve got paint. This is usually white latex paint mixed with microscopic porcelain pellets plus aluminum flakes.

This concoction is spray painted on the underside of your roof decking. Most manufacturers claim it will block 60% to 80% of heat. This is great during the summer and during the cold season. You’ve got to be cautious if you hire a contractor for this. If they skimp on the dry product, all you’re getting for your money is a pretty attic.

The second option is radiant barrier foil. Although some people install it on the rafters up where the decking is, a better idea is to use the RadiantGUARD brand foil on the attic floor on top of the insulation. Think about it; I don’ care hot hot or cold my attic gets as long as it can’t enter my living space below. And, this will stop up to 97% of thermal heat from getting into your home via your attic insulation and drywall ceiling.

Window Upgrades or Windows Winterizing

Your windows can be a huge cause of wintertime heat loss. During the current uncertain economic situation (COVID-19 lockdown), upgrading to double pane replacement windows from contractor-grade might not be a viable option for you. I offer you a solution that might not be as pretty, but is certainly a practical and frugal alternative.

What makes double panes energy efficient? The frames and the void between the layers of glass. The voids are filled with a gas that minimizes thermal transference. Frequently argon (Ar, a noble gas) is used. Even a plain air void will work, just not as well.

  1. Apply double sided tape to the window frame inside the home.
  2. apply clear shrink wrap plastic film over your window frame, creating a void. Press it securely onto the tape.
  3. Use your hair dryer to tighten up the film.
This isn't the optimal solution; it falls in the realm of every-little-bit-helps.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Nobody, but nobody, likes frozen pipes. If you’ve ever had one burst, you know that the plumbing repair job can put a hurting on your Christmas gift budget. It’s much more economical to install foam pipe insulation before winter sets in.

This might help to avoid being out in the cold trying to thaw a frozen water pipe. This insulation is very inexpensive, easy to install and is sold at Home Depot, Lowes, and many other home improvement stores.

This insulation is sections of foam tube with a slit cut down one side. Just snap them onto your pipes. Look for plumbing in the attic, crawlspaces, and unheated areas of your home, like the garage.

While you are at the store, pick up is some Frost King Faucet Covers for your outdoor faucets. Use the proper size to minimize freezing drafts. Hopefully these three effective ways to winterize your home will give you some projects before Jack Frost pays a visit.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. Smith and Frankie, Southern Black Mouth CurKelly R. Smith was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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