Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Winterizing is a HUGE pain in the butt

Our house is drafty. We've no plans to insulate the walls and risk ruining our plaster and/or siding, since that's not where most heat loss occurs anyway, and for the time being we can't insulate the attic because the only access to the attic is a 16x22 inch cubbyhole. Try stuffing a roll of fiberglass through that!

Still, it's c-h-i-l-l-y. Plus, those trees that provide such lovely, cooling shade in the summer, provide the same lovely, COOLING shade in the winter! So, the falling leaves signal to us that we need to start winterizing for the cold months ahead.

First, we bring 24 bales of straw to insulate the foundation. This worked like a charm last year; we never had frozen pipes, even though our laundry pipes run through an uninsulated crawl space. The straw also makes a great mulch the following spring. This year, we bought extra bales to insulate The Ladies' coop. I don't know how much they appreciate it, but we figured that if we were going to winterize ourselves, we ought to winterize them as well. After all, they've only got feathers--and each other--to keep them warm!

Straw bales, check. Now for weatherstripping. Last year we did just the rooms that we used, and we closed off the rest of the house. This year, we'll continue closing off the unused parts of the house, but we'll finish the weatherstripping. Then, we'll put up those ugly plastic "storm windows" on every window in the house. Yeah, that's a treat. Next year we are planning to re-replace the horrid 1960s-era aluminum replacement windows with true divided-light double-hung wood windows. Hopefully, we'll do wood storms then as well. But until then, it's plastic all the way, baby!

Last but not least, we'll turn the thermostat down to 55 (not a typo) and break out the blankets! It's amazing how comfortable we can get when there's down somethingorother to snuggle into. The cats love winter, for just that reason. Down comforters and blankets are snuggly!


TTFWEB said...

You could consider blowing cellulose insulation into your attic. It is the easiest way to get it into tight spaces. See: http://www.umass.edu/bmatwt/publications/articles/cellulose_insulation.html

Patricia W said...


To add to what ttfweb says you can also have spun glass or cellulose blown into the walls. I know you said you want to keep your walls nice but it only requires you to make a 2" round hole in-between each stud, blow in the insulation and then patch it back up. You never know the hole is there once you are done. You're right, the place most heat loss happens is the attic but you also lose lots through uninsulated walls and around windows (especially if you have sash weights). There are ways to weather proof around these too. I'm typing all of this because I was stunned into reality with my first Michigan heating bill last year (I have about 8 in. blow-in in my attic and had none in my walls at the time). After that I sprang into action and plugged many holes saving myself about $150/month thereafter. I'm only 1/3 insulated so far but in much better shape since last year.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

And in the meantime, buy yourself a heated mattress pad! They are so wonderful. You turn it on maybe 10 minutes before hopping into bed and the bed is soooo toasty. I love a warm bed in a chilly room (and a nice warm husband in there too). We bought ourselves the mattress pad last winter, and this year added one for our daughters and for the guest room. Now son wants one too.

Best place I have found to get them is here: http://www.electricblanket.net