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Keeping Your Drafty House Warm - On a Budget

insulating a house in the winter on a budgetI live in an area where most of the houses are about 100 years old - ours is 140 years old!  A lot of us battle drafty windows and doorways, but doing renovations are not always in the budget.  

Before you get started, look into state programs that help make costly energy efficient renovations more reasonable.  I live in Massachusetts, so we have the Mass Save program which offers loans and rebates.  Check your area to see what's available.

If renovations are still too costly, if your area doesn't offer incentives, or if you rent your home, there are still lots of ways to make your house a little warmer.  My tips are cheap, easy, and quick!

Before we talk about drafts, my first recommendation is to buy a programmable thermostat.  Set it so that the heat goes down during the day when nobody's home and at night when you're sleeping.  This doesn't help with drafts, but it will help with heating costs and wasted energy.  In the past few years, there have been some awesome developments in programmable thermostats.  There are a new type called "smart thermostats" which have wifi capability so you can adjust them from your phone, tablet, or computer.  They're a little more expensive than your average thermostat but you will save money on your heating bills.  

But now let's get down to the nitty gritty.  How can you make your house less drafty?

The quickest and easiest thing to start with is insulating your windows.  The least expensive option is insulating with 3M film.  You can also install seals on your windows and doors.  The window film does have a few downsides, however.  It makes your window inoperable, so if you have an unseasonably warm day in the middle of the winter you won't be able to open your window.  It also doesn't look as attractive so if you have a nice view out your window it can ruin that all winter.  The film is not reusable, so it can create a lot of waste.

An alternative is Indow Window.  At $20 a square foot, it's more expensive than the 3M film, but much less than installing new windows.  Indow Windows has plexiglass panels that are designed to fit over your existing window.   It works as an additional pane on your window, but it's much less expensive.

Next, you can buy insulated curtains.  These are also great for keeping your home cool in the summer!  

Lastly, put draft blockers under your door.  You can buy these online or at stores, or if you are crafty...make your own!  You can upcycle an old pair of jeans or whatever you like.