January 2, 2011: Lesson # 1

So a big part of this month-long Light and heat project should be bumping up against those irrational, stuck places in myself, right? And  acknowledging those uncomfortable, oh-that-again moments? Seems necessary. And honest.

So I’ve already discovered that although I thought I wanted to be open to whatever methods are currently available to save energy, my (ridiculous) house-pride/entitlement just might keep me from big-time changes. Like covering my drafty windows with plastic weatherizing. Way too tacky, m’dear! And, besides, just using Saran Wrap’s a huge challenge for non-dextrous me; I seriously doubt I am capable of effectively covering an entire window.

So I walked to Tags, a local, independently-owned hardware store about a mile from my house, to see what the latest, recommended-by-a-salesperson method to plug up leaky windows might be. Which turned out to to be a clear liquid you apply with a caulk gun (My VT daughter had recommended this stuff. You gotta listen to someone from VT, right?). Problem: The package warns that this stuff produces fumes. And, yeah, my windows are not airtight but it is the middle of winter. Everything’s shut tight. So shut tight that I can still detect the slightest whiff of the fish curry we had at Christmas. So, reluctantly, must pass on “the latest.”

So, promising myself to get the liquid sealer in, say, October, and to seal up everything one window at a time—with the back door wide open—I bought rope caulk and, relishing the playing-with-clay/hands-on work, plugged up the most egregious gaps. I’ll wait for a windy day to finish the job.

Oh! Something I don’t know: is this caulk toxic? Would Ruby, my precious, toddler granddaughter, get sick if she grabbed a handful? Since she won’t visit here until the summer, not an issue. But I’m investigating, anyway.

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  1. Can’t help commenting on the plastic window covering. When I lived on the second floor of my two family house, I used the kind you put on and seal with a blow dryer. It’s an unwieldy job for one person, but a snap for two and the results are terrific – drafts completely sealed, heating bills down considerably. If you trim the edges and use curtains, you really can’t tell that there’s anything over the window. Lined drapes are what I use downstairs (they can be pricey, but I had drapes the that my dad used and a friend of mine sewed in some inexpensive lining fabric.) Results also very good, but not quite as effective as the plastic.

  2. I agree. Not so bad… But you might want to install new windows if you’re ready to shell out the bucks… There was a tax credit for it last year… Anyway in our 1910 drafty six pack (double tripledecker) new windows cut fuel use by more than 20%… and it FELT much warmer.

    Insulating is the way to go, I think. Our upstairs neighbors who are under the flat roof and froze in winter and sweated in summer, had insulation blown in the roof and the sides of their part of the building. It made it better for them, but alas, the roof leaked thereafter. Luckily they were asked to get a guarantee from the supplier and he fixed it.

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