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How to Seal Windows and Doors From the Cold

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How to Seal Windows and Doors From the Cold

Most people who live above the 35th parallel are likely experiencing a bit of cold weather right about now. Though November’s weather can be downright schizophrenic in its oscillation between balmy days and freezing rain, December tends to settle down a bit so winter can establish itself more firmly. In addition to leaving us chilled every time we leave the house, these frigid days bestow upon us the added bonus of cold drafts through our homes—particularly in older buildings where there are cracks and gaps around windows and door frames.

In order to fend off freezing temperatures in our living spaces, it’s a good idea to add some insulation to the areas that let in the greatest amount of cold air: windows, and doors. Though most modern homes have double-paned glass, and doors that have been well-fitted to the frames, older dwellings may have slanted walls and ceilings which contribute to ill-fitting windows and such. If you suspect that there are leaks and cracks around yours, wait for a windy day and then move a lit stick of incense all around the frames: the incense smoke will flutter when it encounters a draft. Marking off the most leaky areas with a pencil will help you to seal them more effectively, and to do so, you have a few options available to you.

WINDOWS

Since you’re unlikely to be cracking windows open for a bit of fresh, freezing air in the middle of winter, the best option is to seal them up until spring.

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Rubber Sealing Tape

This tape is inexpensive, and simple to use: you just measure your window frame, cut pieces to the right length, and peel off the backing to stick them to your windows—it’ll seal off the vast majority of leaks, and can be removed quickly and easily once the weather warms up again. This doesn’t affect the quality of light coming through your windows, but can wreak havoc on your frames: when you remove the tape, it can leave a gummy residue behind that’s difficult to remove, and it will often tear off bits of paint from any coated surface it’s come into contact with.

Plastic Insulation Film

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My favourite way to seal windows is with the sort of insulating shrink-wrap that you can get at your local hardware store. It comes in sheets that you apply to the outside edges of the frame with double-sided tape, and then you use a hairdryer to shrink it, thus creating an airtight seal. The tape it uses rarely causes any damage to the frame, and though the window itself can look a bit cloudy over time, it’s not terribly noticeable, and doesn’t dim any sunlight.

By sealing up your windows for the winter, you’ll not only stop drafts from seeping into your home, you’ll also save on heating costs: you won’t have to crank up your heater to combat the cold, so your electricity or gas bills will be lessened as well.

DOORS

Insulating doors is a little bit trickier than windows, seeing as how we tend to use them on a daily basis for entering and exiting our homes. Since most of us aren’t keen on barricading ourselves into our houses for the entire winter, door-sealing options have to be as effective as possible without restricting movement through them.

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Closed-Cell Foam Tape

This tape is similar to the sealing tape used for windows, only it’s a bit more hardcore: those closed cells are little pockets of air, so they insulate rather effectively. This stuff is ideal for exterior doors through which outdoor air is more likely to seep in.

Door Snakes

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For interiors, consider a door snake: these are long tubes of fabric that are placed at the foot of doors to stop drafts from slipping in through the gaps beneath entryways. Since cold air sinks and is more likely to slink in at floor level, blocking off those lower door gaps can actually help to keep your rooms nice and toasty.

In addition to these sealing ideas, consider hanging heavy drapes over your windows and even over hopelessly drafty doors: though we’re unaccustomed to seeing curtains over doors nowadays, they were used quite extensively in the past to help insulate homes in wintertime. A velvet drape hung at the back of one’s bedroom door can be a lovely decorative addition, and using heavy window curtains is actually a great way to keep your home warm—keep south-facing drapes open during the day to let in as much sunshine as possible (it’s warming!), and then close them as the sun is setting to keep all the toasty-ness inside.

Featured photo credit:  old farm in the mountains at winter via Shutterstock

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

1. Camping

A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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2. Staycation

You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

3. Island Getaway

People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

4. Fancy Resort

Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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5. Road Trip

The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

6. Charter a Boat

If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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8. Themed Retreats

There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

9. Working Honeymoon

Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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