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Block drafts to cut home heating bills
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Heating fuel prices are down, but now that there’s a nip in the air, you could be discovering all the air leaks in your home.
Here are some things you can do yourself to block the cold.
• If outdoor temperatures are less than 50 F, you shouldn’t caulk outside; however, plastic sheeting on the inside of windows can go a long way toward keeping the heat in. There are two methods you can do yourself:
1) Plastic sheeting that comes in a kit with double-sided tape. Leave as much space as you can between the glass and the plastic because it’s the space that blocks the cold air before it gets into the room. Use a hair dryer to shrink the plastic, and it becomes nearly as clear as glass. At the end of the heating season when you remove the plastic, you may need vinegar to remove the last remnants of glue from the tape.
2) Removable interior panels that can be reused year after year. You’ll need basic supplies such as one-by-two boards, foam strips and plastic sheeting. These panels are sturdy and hold back drafts even better than plastic sheeting in kits and are cheaper over the long term. For detailed plans to build your own, go to and scroll most the way down the page to “Thermal Windows.” You’ll find a materials list with estimated pricing and lots of photos and instructions.
• Caulk around pipes under sinks. Use expandable foam, and wear disposable rubber gloves. (If you get any your hand, it’s hard to get off.) Let dry around the pipes and trim with a sharp blade.
• Put another layer of insulation in the attic, if you have one.
• Replace your furnace filter if you didn’t do this in the fall. Buy an extra and keep it on hand to change in the middle of winter.
• Install storm doors on exit doors.
• Make sure exterior doors have weather stripping and that it’s in good shape. And tack a piece of carpet to the bottom of the door if the sweep lets in air.
• Hang insulating drapes on windows. Open them up during the day to let the sun warm the rooms, and close them when the sun goes down.
The more cold air you block from getting into your home, the more comfortable you’ll be, and the lower your heating costs.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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