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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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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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