LESLIE: Energy costs are through the roof this winter and Jack in Tennessee is looking to save some money by weatherproofing to reduce his heating bill.
Jack, tell us what’s going on.
JACK: I want to know an inexpensive way to reduce my heating bill in the house without it costing me a bunch of money.
TOM: Ah, that’s a great question because here you are renting; you don’t want to invest in the house. And that would be very nice of you as a tenant (Leslie chuckles) but you’re not going to be there to get the return on investment, so you want to talk about some inexpensive ways. I’ve got a couple ideas.
Now do you have some really drafty windows?
JACK: Yeah, we’ve got a house that’s built in like 1960-something.
JACK: And it’s got them old, single-pane windows in it that like crank out.
TOM: They’re the worst. Awning windows or jalousie windows.
You know what a good solution is for that, Leslie? Temporary caulk.
LESLIE: You can do that. You can even – it’s not the most attractive solution but you can get that plastic sheeting that you put on the inside that sort of like vacu-seals itself to the window.
TOM: The shrink film.
LESLIE: That actually does work. You can also think about getting some heavyweight draperies. Do you have anything on those windows?
JACK: Yeah, we’ve got some real thin draperies and we’ve got blinds up but, other than that, no, not really.
LESLIE: Well, for the winter months – think about having two sets of draperies: something light and airy and breezy for the summer when you want that air to get in; and for the winter months, get something really weighty like a velvet or a chenille or just some sort of heavyweight fabric that’s lined and interlined. Get as much as you can to hang there because anything that you can put in front of that window is going to stop that drafty air from getting in. And that’s something you can do as a renter because you can take it with you to your next place.
TOM: Another thing you can do is on the outside outlets around the exterior walls, the outside outlets and the light switches, Jack, you can get gaskets that fit in there. They’re very inexpensive. They’re made out of foam. You can get them at a hardware store or a home center. And they go basically between the outlet cover and the outlet itself and they seal those spaces where a lot of drafts come through because very often you get drafts through your electrical outlets.
JACK: On the outside of the house or the …
TOM: No, on the inside of the house. Put your hand in front of one of your plugs on the outside of your house – from the inside but on an exterior wall – you’ll feel a draft whistling through there. So there’s another thing you can do. The temporary caulk I was talking about before, it’s basically caulk that you put on in the fall and the winter and you peel it off in the spring. It doesn’t stick. And that’s another way to seal up a window that’s particularly drafty. But of course if it’s a window you need for egress, you don’t want to do it there.
So there’s four or five easy, inexpensive ideas and ways that you can seal that house up and, hopefully, Jack, you’ll save up so much money you’ll be buying a house pretty soon.