Posted Jan 04, 2023 9:14 AM
By Patricia Jones, Alliance Community Task Force: Creating Opportunity
How do you keep that warm air inside your house, and the cold air out? This week we are looking at quick, cheap ways to weatherize your home and make it more comfortable this winter. And you’ll keep your utility bills down!
Even a well-insulated house can be drafty. There may be leaks around your windows and doors where the wood has shrunk – common in our dry area. You could go to the hardware store and pick up some caulking and weatherstripping to cover those spaces without spending much money. Putting tape over those spaces can also help quite a bit.
For doors, cold air often comes in underneath. You can buy a door sweep at the hardware store. Or try getting or making a door snake, a long, filled tube that lays across the bottom of the door. People make these with long strips of fabric, hose, or leggings, and filling them with rice. You could even stuff yours with grocery sacks. If you don’t have that, just roll up a bath towel to put in front of the door.
Windows are cold. You can buy window insulation kits, inside or outside, that use heat-shrink plastic to cover your window panes. The kit comes with mounting tape (or magnetic strips) and clear plastic film. Use the double-sided tape to affix the plastic to the outside of the window frame, then use your hair dryer to shrink the film. That creates an airlock over the window to prevent drafts and heat loss. If the window is still cold, hang a blanket over it.
A couple of areas you might not think to check are whether there are drafts around your outlets, or whether your attic door is letting warm air escape. For less than a quarter each, you can buy foam electrical outlet sealing gaskets for those plug-ins on your exterior walls. An attic door is rarely insulated. You can buy special kits to add that insulation, or you can just put a blanket over it.
One of the many programs offered by the State of Nebraska through Northwest Community Action Partnership (NCAP) is the Weatherization Assistance Program. The Weatherization Program is a free energy efficiency program designed to decrease energy costs for low-income families, especially the elderly, persons with disabilities, and people with small children.
Households must meet income guidelines. Homes may be site built or mobile homes. Renters may receive weatherization services with the property owner’s approval. Low-income families may apply, and priority is given to elderly, disabled, and families with children under age 6. In addition, home occupants must be legal residents of the United States, and they must have an annual gross income that is below 200% of the federal poverty level. For more information go to www.ncap.info, or phone 308-432-3393.
Households that receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Aid to Dependent Children (ADC), or Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds may automatically qualify to receive weatherization services. Be aware that it can take up to a year to have weatherization completed, depending on where a family falls on the priority list. The application is on NCAP’s website, or you can phone and ask to have one mailed to you.
Winterizing your home doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Your utility bills will be lower, and your home will be more comfortable. Give some of these ideas a try.