Condo Blues: 9 Fall Fix-Ups That Lower Your Winter Heating Bill

Friday, November 20, 2009

9 Fall Fix-Ups That Lower Your Winter Heating Bill

Winterizing the outside of your home in order to lower your energy use, save money, and lower your heating bills is as easy as a walk around the house, a walk around the outside of the house that is. Let’s stroll outside so I can show you how I seal up outside air leaks to prep the house for winter and keep my natural gas and electricity use - and bill - low.

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9 Things You Need To Do To Lower Your Winter Heating Bill

1. Check for gaps outside of my windows. I have efficient double paned windows but even the most efficient windows will leak air because you’re still cutting a hole in your wall to install the window – duh. You can’t see it very well here because I calked the gap where the window frame meets the house with this clear silicone caulk. and caulk gun. I used clear because I wanted it to blend in and I didn’t want to have worry about finding the right color caulk for each area of the condo I needed. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.) 

Please ignore the dirt around my windows. Thank you.

2. Fill the gap between the window screen and window frame with removable rope caulk. I used removable rope caulk (you can get it here) over peelable  because I could still easily pop out the window screen from the inside of the house in the case of an emergency. I also don’t have to buy pealable caulk each season. I can remove and save the rope caulk from season to season if need be. This is an excellent solution for renters too.

Please keep ignoring the dirt around my windows. Thank you.

3. Switch out the summer screens for winter storm windows. (If I had winter storm windows.) I could seal the outside (or inside) of my windows with a removable window insulating kit like this one . Plastic sheeting isn’t as efficient as storm windows but it is cheaper and much better than leaving them bare if you have leaky windows. I’m not going to do it because I don’t think my HOA would go for plastic on the outside of the house and frankly I don’t like the look either. Since my windows are double paned and pretty efficient, I concentrate on sealing the little gaps around the windows. As always, your mileage may vary.

4. Put a cover on the air conditioner. Warm heated air is drawn to cold air and vice versa. An air conditioning cover like this one encourages the warm air to stay inside the house during the winter. If I had a window unit, I’d remove it for the winter and close the window. Do as I say not as I do. In my previous rental I learned the hard way how much colder a room can be when you don’t remove the window air conditioner from the window during the winter. Don’t be me.

Blitzkrieg says "hi."

5. Check gaps around outlets, faucets etc. and caulk if needed.


This one still looks pretty good.


Looks like I forgot to caulk the gap around the outdoor let on the porch. Better get on that.

6. Disconnect and drain outdoor garden hoses and insulate the faucet so they don’t freeze and possibly burst. There might be a DIY solution to this, but I took the easy way out and bought an outdoor insulating faucet here.  (They have many styles to choose from if you don't like the type I bought below.)


The interior hook fits around the faucet and it screws into place. Easy to do and remove in the spring and reuse the next year.


7. Check if the garage door leaks. This is one of the most overlooked areas of detecting and sealing air leaks in the home.


Raises hand and hangs head in shame. I ordered a replacement garage door bottom weatherstripping kit here and will install it as soon as it comes to the house - promise.

8. Take terra cotta and clay pots inside when it gets frosty outside or the pots might freeze, thaw, and crack.


Guess how I know?

9. Check your chimney. Since I have a gas fireplace the installer recommends that I check it for cobwebs and spiders and whatnot that like to call such small dark places home because they can interfere with how well (or not) your fireplace works.


All clear here. Whew!

That’s how I prep the outside of my house and keep my utility use and winter heating bills low. What do you do? Do you have any tips?

Looking for more ways to save money on your heating and cooling bills? Check out the following ideas - and more! - below!

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Kristin - The Goat said...

I could have used all of those tips at my former home. I wouldn't have thought to check several of those areas.

I ignored all the dirt, dust and grass clippings. I wouldn't have noticed them to ignore, by the way LOL

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing the tip about the faucet. We just had a weatherizing program come through the house and inspect. They have been hard at work and are still busy with the attic... I'm actually excited to get our utility bills this winter!

Christine said...

I'm soooo showing this to my hubby!! Great tips!

Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream to Reality!

mail4rosey said...

Perfect timing, perfect tips! We forgot to cover our central unit outside, and once we finally got around to it (*cough remembered*) it did make a difference!

Katherines Corner said...

great tips! Thank you for sharing at the hop xo

Unknown said...

We so need to do this soon. I know it will make a huge difference. Thanks for sharing on Tout It Tuesday! Hope to see you tomorrow.

Teresa B said...

Very useful, thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party this week!

Lisa Lynn said...

Great tips! Thank you for sharing on Farm Fresh Tuesdays!

Frugal Hausfrau said...

Very helpful hints! Thanks!

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