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How to Seal Windows and Doors From the Cold

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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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