Quick and Dirty Weatherization

Antarctica, courtesy of MODIS

Antarctica on 12 Jan 08, courtesy of MODIS

Okay, it’s cold. Not quite Antarctica, but I turned a corner this morning and I swear it felt like it.

While it’s too late to take advantage of the Weatherization Assistance Program, here are some quick and dirty tips for staying warmer at home.

  • Find the one or two worst leaks and plug them.  The best way to figure out where the cold air is getting in is to do a walk around your house holding a tissue draped over a wire hanger.  You can tack up a blanket or plastic sheet during the cold snap, or roll up a towel against the door gap.
  • Optimize the fuel you’re using for heat. In general, you want to use more liquid fuel (natural gas, kerosene) and less electricity (baseboard heaters), and really, wood in the fireplace is not really for heat.  (Though wood is a lot better than storebought wax-and-sawdust logs, which are only for the pretteh.)  Whichever you choose, remember that convection (ie, a fan) can triplify the results.
  • Clean the dust of out intake and blower vent louvers.  This is a quick way to make your furnace work less hard.  Also, run a vacuum cleaner over your furnace filter.  Closing doors and covering some vents can also decrease the load on the furnace.
  • Put on a sweater.  You know that mom was right.  Put on some warm socks, too.  (I myself have been known to wear fingerless gloves when working on the computer.)

Finally, I recommend making soup — face it, going out to eat over the next few days is going to be traumatic.  A nice pot of hot soup on the stove can warm you inside and out.

Stay warm, DC!

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