Keeping the cold weather out of the house

Between five percent up to 40 percent of the cost of heating your home can be chalked up to drafts and air leaks. I don't want any more of that expensive hot air to seep out of the house, and I want to keep as much cold air out as possible. Windows are great for letting in light but awful for letting in cold air. I'll focus on them today.

First make sure the window is locked since that helps pull the sash closer to the frame. If you feel a substantial draft you may need to add some weather stripping where the sash pushes against the frame. You'll need to open the window to apply the weather stripping then lock the window for a tight seal.

There are a couple kinds of temporary caulk that works very well along the seams of your windows that you'll want to be able to open when warm weather returns. Rope caulk is a putty that's formed into strands that you just peel off the roll and press into place along the edges of your window sash. It's inexpensive and can be easily pulled off in spring. Another type is clear and comes in a tube like latex caulk. Be sure the label says it's removable! Use these removable caulks all around your window sashes, the tops, sides and bottoms.

Whether you have storm windows or newer, double-paned glass, it helps a lot to add one more layer, especially on the windy side of your house. Easy-to-use kits are available at all hardware and home stores. You tape the plastic up with removable tape and shrink it tight with a hair dryer so it's almost invisible. It really makes a difference.

For more ideas and information, visit www.GetEnergySmart.org or call toll-free 1-877-NY-Smart.

Amy Ivy is executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County. CCE offices may be reached in Clinton County at 561-7450 and Essex County at 962-4810. More information may be found on-line at ecgardening.cce.cornell.edu or by sending an e-mail to a Master Gardener volunteer at askMG@cornell.edu.

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