Posted by: Michelle on February 16th, 2009
Just this past weekend I went home to Iowa for a visit with family and was reminded of a winter tradition my family has practiced since before I can remember. The dual-pane windows in our house are not nearly as efficient as the ones available on the market today. In the cold months, if you stand next to the north facing windows, even though you are inside the house, you can actually feel the wind coming through the window, and it is COLD! But swapping out all the windows for new ones is just not in my family’s budget, especially this year. So instead, Mr. I-can-do-anything-with-duct-tape (aka Jon Kaufmann, my dad and eco-mentor) has made it a tradition to winterize/weatherize our house each year as the temperature outside begins to drop (usually around late October).
Thankfully, this is one project where Dad doesn’t insist on using his material of choice, duct tape. His weatherizing endeavors still involve a super strong tape, but in this case it’s of the clear, double-stick variety. Using plastic sheets and the double-stick tape, he wraps the plastic around all of the windows facing north and east (where the wind and bone-chilling Iowa cold find entry through the not-so-insulating windows). He then uses a blowdryer and heats the plastic, in effect, shrink wrapping the windows.
Surprisingly, this added layer of plastic really does make a difference by blocking the incoming air and acting as an insulator. I prefer it to the tactic of putting thick curtains over windows in the winter, which cuts out the light and views. Unlike curtains, the clear plastic still allows the sun to come through (something that can bring added warmth inside and reduce the need for turning on lights during the day), and maintains the views and visual connection to the outdoors (much needed for the mental health of the Kaufmanns during the otherwise claustrophobic winter months).
Thanks, Dad, for another great money-saving (and energy saving) tip!