We've all seen those thermo heat loss images that show how a home transfers heat from the inside to the outside. The idea is to show us places in a home where heat is leaking away from us and into the cold winter night so we can plug those leaky areas in order to save on our energy costs.
The more blue and green an image is, the better that home is keeping the heat where it should be- around our chilly toes. The more yellows, oranges, and reds we see, the more heat is being lost. The image above shows windows as a notoriously weak spot in our defense against the winter chill and an empty wallet.
This home above, all rosy and bright, has heat loss issues.
We keep the thermostat on 58 degrees. No, I'm not kidding. We have three floors but most of our activity takes place on the first floor. So we turn down the thermostat, put on snuggly socks, and close the door to the second floor. We use a vent-less gas fireplace on the first floor to supplement the boiler. When we use the upstairs computer, play in the sewing room, or read on the enclosed porch we have room heaters for those areas. It works for us, mainly because in spite of our efforts we're still a pretty drafty old homestead and it isn't in our budget to heat the neighbor's yard.
|by DonkerDink via Flickr|
This fall we had the pleasure of replacing our natural gas heat source with propane. You can go to this post- I've Got Gas & I Couldn't Be Happier- for all the sordid details. With natural gas, you have a pipe that comes into your house and there's always gas (unless of course things go for you like they did for us). With propane, you have a tank which contains a finite amount of liquid propane. I can't shake that uneasy feeling that we're about to run out of propane. And in spite of what the websites and pundits we consulted told us, LP is more expensive. It's price fluctuates with petroleum prices, which have gone up recently. Lucky us.
We've been known to tape the particularly leaky windows with painters tape.
Crude but semi-efficient.
So my husband decided to abandon the sporadic use of window plastic and painter's tape and make interior storm windows. He's a pretty clever guy and very committed to saving money because we have 15 windows that seriously needed attention. These aren't the original single pane windows but some "mature" replacement windows. A houseful of new windows isn't the in the budget right now either and truthfully may never be in the budget.
Here's what it takes: