Did Your Home Keep You Warm During the Polar Vortex?

If the answer is “no,” keep on reading: Even though the frigid-cold air that cloaked most of the country this week has moved on out, it’s not too late to tighten up any gaps, cracks, or holes in your home’s walls, foundation, or door and window frames. These cracks and crevices not only keep your body chilled to the bone, but they also send energy and money flying out into the wild blue yonder!

You can get the job done easily—and inexpensively, too—by filling those openings with caulk or weather-stripping. Don’t get carried away, though. If you seal up your house so tightly that little or no air can get in or out, you’ll be asking for a whole other (and possibly much bigger) set of problems. Noxious fumes given off by building materials, furnishings, and cleaning products won’t be able to escape, and neither will the dampness and tiny organisms that create mold. The result could be environmentally triggered illnesses and allergies in your home.

Here are a few more hints and tips to keep your home toasty warm for the rest of the winter:

  • When you’re not using your fireplace, keep the damper tightly closed. Otherwise, cold air will fly right down the chimney.
  • Always keep your thermostat’s fan switch on the “Auto” setting. Leaving it turned to “On” can add $25 or more each month to your heating and cooling costs.
  • During the day, raise your window shades or pull back curtains and draperies on east-, west-, and south-facing windows, and let the sun shine in!

And if you’re feeling crafty—and you have an old sweater you want to save from the garbage dump—here’s the perfect solution: As long as the sweater’s sleeves are hole-free, cut them off just below the shoulder seams, and stuff them with old socks or panty hose. Then stitch the ends closed, and put your dandy draft dodgers to work blocking the breeze from flowing in under your doors!