How to winterize your house

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What do I need to do to wintertime my house. I live in south Arkansas but it has already gotten colder this year than it has in almost 20 years. I am disabled & live on a very very small income so I can't pay someone to do it, any suggestions appreciated. Already wrapped outside Faucet with newspaper & covered it with faucet cover. Let kitchen sink drip at night when coldest. My hot water heater frozen last winter & it took me almost 2 days to thaw it out with electric heaters pointed on it. Anything I can do to prevent this from happening again.
  12 answers
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Nov 16, 2014
    I think I'd wrap stuff like the water heater in old blankets or towels. Insulation is just a loose substance creating a barrier, sometimes they use fabric like denim. I've also noticed that a foil is over that, like aluminum foil. Hope you fare better this winter! Maybe there is someone or organization that can help you?

  • Teresa Renee Daniells Teresa Renee Daniells on Nov 16, 2014
    Thank you Adrianne C.for the advice on the hot water heater wrapping idea. I wasn't sure what to use b/c I didn't want material to catch fire.

  • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Nov 16, 2014
    How are your windows? Heavy blankets as curtains can help. Just make sure to let some light in on sunny days so you don't get depressed. :) Please ask this question next fall too. It is a little late for some of the ideas I have, but next summer/fall, you could get an early start.

  • Judith Tramayne Judith Tramayne on Nov 16, 2014
    Get a roll of bubble wrap. Cut it to fit your windows. Spray water on your windows, apply flat side bubble wrap to window. It sticks to windows with just water. My home is a lot warmer now using the bubble wrap on windows without dual panes. Also adds privacy but lets in the light.

  • Judith Tramayne Judith Tramayne on Nov 16, 2014
    I use a water heater insulated blanket and have never had my water heater freeze. And we can get to minus 9 degrees where I live. http://energy.gov/energysaver/projects/savings-project-insulate-your-water-heater-tank

  • Plastic on your windows and that will be about $13 for 10 windows 24x48. Walmart has the best price on the window kit and it uses double sided tape. It will cut down air flow significantly. Is your water heater electric or gas? if electric then as Adrianne suggests wrapping the water heater (the water heater wrap may be a great investment because you leave it on all the time for energy efficiency). As for the outside faucets you need to make sure the water is shut off for the outside and drain the lines. If there is water in the lines that will freeze and could cause leaks and problems. as for the kitchen sink and bathrooms open the cabinets at night to let heat in them. If the water heater is gas you do need to be very careful about wrapping it with flammable materials. that is why a hot water jacket is best. Where is the water heater? if located in a garage maybe you could create a room or barrier and run the heater all night on if the temps are going to dip too low. this could be hanging blankets or curtains from the ceiling. I also want to add to let the sun shine in and help warm the house during the day and at night close the curtains (but plastic will help so do not worry if you do not have them). If air flow happens around the trim of the window then you need to go buy a cheap tube of caulking for under $3 and caulk around the window trim and close off any gaps you see. The plastic will help the inside or glass part but sometimes the air can come in on the outside of the trim. I hope these help you.

  • JoAnn Masterjohn JoAnn Masterjohn on Nov 16, 2014
    If you can wrap an electric pipe heater, it helps. But, getting foam insulators on the pipes or less expensive...wrap old towels, blankets, old clothing and then if outside, wrap garbage bags around the cloth wrapping so it doesn't get wet. These are things I did when I was so broke that I had a hard time just buying milk. I used what I had and it worked. If you have a wood burning stove, and you are really trying to save, get some pallets..after asking from stores if you can have them. Most seem to just say, take them. Get someone to break them down for you and use them for fire if they are damaged pallets. One year, that's all the wood we could afford. We stayed warm and warmth cost a little effort. I'm disabled too....but you kind of have to know your limits.

  • Cornelia Schott Cornelia Schott on Nov 16, 2014
    We turn off outside faucets from the inside to prevent frozen pipe issues.

  • C. Shelton C. Shelton on Nov 16, 2014
    About 25 years ago I was renting a house with the coldest windows. I was a single mother working my way thru school and was desperate to cozy up my livingroom. I found a product that worked like a charm to insulate that old picture window. It was clear sheet plastic large enough to stretch in front of the picture window behind my sofa and attached inside the widow frame. ALL the way around with long double-stick foam tape. The plastic was then shrunk and tightened with the heat of my blowdryer. It was magic because it became invisible. Didn't interfere with the view at all. And the insulation value of that trapped airspace was incredible. I do not remember the name of the product. I just found it at my neighorhood hardware store. I couldn't put a storm window up in that old rental but I doubt even that would have been as effective as that plastic sheet.

  • Patty Patty on Nov 16, 2014
    I wrap a heating pad around a pipe to keep it from freezing-put bubble wrap on windows to insulate put blankets on the floor if no rugs available

  • Teresa Renee Daniells Teresa Renee Daniells on Nov 16, 2014
    Thank you ladies, I ordered hot water heater blanket from Amazon $25, made under door rugs with swim noodles & old material I had laying around, going to walmart tomorrow for the plastic window cover. Pipes wrapped, cut boards today to cover outside air vents so cold air can't get under house as much. Found a couple of tubes of window caulk in shop this afternoon so doing Windows tomorrow with plastic covers & caulk. I also found lots of suggestions in internet on how to winterize your home on a budget