It’s hard to think about icy winds and cruel, bitter cold when the temperatures are still nice and warm, but the overnight temperatures are getting colder now, and will continue to do so.

While the weather is still mild, it’s a good time to go over the outside of your home and ‘bat the cracks’.  I read an article that said that almost every home has the equivalent of a 2-1/2 square foot open hole that allows air leakage that can easily cost us anywhere from 30 to 40 percent more in heating and cooling bills! 

Since this amounts to a fairly large chunk of change to the tune of several hundreds of dollars a year or more, it’s wise to plug those holes any way we can.

I buy caulking in the fall every year and go around the outside of my house.  A good place to start is where any pipes come into your home – plumbing and heating, etc.  To keep out the ‘mouse-type’ critters, plug the biggest holes with steel wool. Mice can’t chew through the stuff.  Cover the steel wool with the caulking. 

I also check the door and window frames, corners of the house where the siding comes together and around my built-in water cooler air conditioner.  (Around that piece of metal, I use foam sealant.) 

I also put caulking around the gap where the house meets the foundation, and I have discovered that this is one of my biggest money savers. It takes a lot of caulk and foam to close the gap, but the amount of savings in heating and cooling are considerable.

We also put plastic sheeting over the windows. It cuts down on the drafts considerably in this old farm house, and, it’s something I can do myself.

Then, I make some I call ‘Draft Dodgers’.  My ‘Draft Dodgers’ are nothing more than old blue jeans legs stitched shut on one end – or you can make a tube out of the fabric of your choice.

Fill the fabric ‘tube’ it with anything heavy – like sand, sawdust or grains. I use wood stove pellets in my tubes. I don’t care to use grains or beans because if they get wet, things start to grow or worse, get moldy. I don’t sew the open end of the tube shut for that reason. I just use a heavy rubber band as a closure.

Remember: Caulk and save!  And make a ‘Dodger’ or two for yourself, or make several to give as practical gifts for Christmas!

 if you have tips or ideas to share, send them to Pennywise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543 or better yet, email Pennywise at [email protected]
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