What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Winterizing Begins

Snow Over the Water
February 2, 2005

Beautiful scenes like this will be common here shortly bringing with them howling winds, below freezing temperatures along with snow, ice and higher energy bills. The ADFF has passed and while we haven't had a frost yet, the air has turned cold. We have had the gas fireplace on a couple of times to take the chill off the family room so it won't be long before we have to put the furnace on. This photo was taken a couple of years ago at our old house. The house had virtually little wind block, was poorly insulated and received the full force of the north winds. A lot of winterizing was needed to make the house as energy efficient as possible. This house is well protected from the wind, is partially earth bermed and in general a much sturdier, better sealed house that appears to be fairly well insulated. This house benefits from the cooling effects of the water in the warm months and will also benefit from the warming effects of mainly open water in the winter. This will be our first winter in this house so I've already been busy looking for and sealing air leaks.

The heaviest canning season is almost finished. The pantry is well stocked as are the freezers so I will be able to focus on winterizing both indoors and outdoors. My husband will winterize the vehicles and boat which is being lifted out of the water the week of the twenty second. We will be removing lawn furniture and garden decorations. These will be cleaned then stored. We are debating doing the same for the solar lights as they not withstand the freezing temperatures. This is the time of year when it is very important to make sure bird feeders are kept full to encourage the birds to return to your gardens the following spring. We will also be mulching and making necessary preparations inthe gardens for the cold weather.

Why should we winterize our homes? Winterizing is an important way of getting the most for your energy dollars. It makes our homes more comfortable as well. The main energy savers are to insulate, caulk, weatherstripping, replacing old windows and replace old heating systems with energy efficient ones. Do check for rebates and grants if you need to replace your furnace, air conditioning or major appliances. The Home Energy Retrofit Program (Canada) offers a maximum $5000 grant on qualifying purchases. Natural Resources Canada lists details and links various rebates and incentives for selected Energy Star® qualified products in Canada. For one reason or another these may not be possible especially for those living in rented accommodations or those on fixed incomes making it difficult to keep the rising energy costs in check. Landlords in particular often frown upon tenants making permanent changes even if they will help save energy. This is where winterizing can help, Winterizing involves more than the basics to make your home more energy efficient. They tend to be frugal DIY projects and versatile projects that improve your home's energy efficiency. Many of the winterizing projects can be used in rental units as well. They can be taken with you if you move making them ideal.

Windows can present several problems that result in thermal heat loss even if they are energy efficient sealed double pane. The first step of course should be stopping all air leaks either by caulking and/or weatherstripping or using the popular shrink plastic. The second step is creating a barrier to thermal heat loss through the window pane itself. This is where you can have a little fun! Doors can also give a cold zone at the threshhold even if they are insulated and properly weatherstripped. Patio doors can be worse at thermal heat loss because of their large expanse of glass. I'll be making a few posts over the next couple of weeks with some easy to make, inexpensive sewing projects that I will be using for our windows and doors. I also have a couple of easy DIY, inexpensive non-sewing projects for windows. So check back over the next couple of weeks for these projects.

Garden Gnome
© 2007