Insulating windows + other tips to stay warm?

My heating bills (electric) were crazy last winter, and I'm trying to cut those down a bit this time around. I covered my air conditioner from the outside, and I used that plastic shrink wrap insulation on the front of it, and on the big windows in my room -- both bad for letting heat out/cold in.

Does that actually work? What do you do to keep the temperature up and the heating bills down in the winter?
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Last edited by Befrizzled; 10-13-2009 at 04:31 PM.
I've used that shrink wrap stuff on windows in previous houses that were drafty, and it did help. So do those simple draft stoppers laid in front of your doors. Electrical outlets are another draft source, so check those and see if they need some coverage.

When I use my oven for cooking in the winter, I take advantage of the heat, by keeping some stone bakeware in there that holds the heat for hours after the oven is shut off. You could even use a brick (or two) for this purpose.

Invest in a programmable thermostat that will turn your heat down and up automatically while you're away so you don't have to waste heat while you're not home and so that you don't have to come home to a frosty house.
The programmable thermostat would come in really handy; mine just lets you turn it to a temperature, but it doesn't have a display or a thermometer on it. I usually manually mess with it, but who knows how accurate it is. Any brand recommendations? I'll do some research and ask at the store, too.
Under construction.
If you are an owner, look into getting foam insulation.
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My mom's strategy was to keep the thermostat on a set (and freezing cold...like 65) temperature and we would just layer up in the house. Electric heating pads on the beds at night helped cope with the cold in the house since I strongly dislike sleeping in sweatshirts. It was actually weird to go to college and live in a dorm where the rooms are warm during the winter. I was hot like all the time!
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I've used that shrink wrap stuff on windows in previous houses that were drafty, and it did help. So do those simple draft stoppers laid in front of your doors. Electrical outlets are another draft source, so check those and see if they need some coverage.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Do you cover your windows with that or do you put it around your window frames?

I have blinds in two of my windows plus thermal drapes and thermal drapes for all the rest of my windows. I keep them shut all winter long (the drapes).

My mom believes in keeping drapes wide open all winter long because she says the sunlight brings in heat. I can't believe that is right especially when it's overcast most of the time. How would keeping windows bare during cold overcast conditions bring in anything but cold drafts? She calls my apartment a cave because of how i keep everything closed up, but I keep my thermostat at 65 and always feel warm versus in her house it always seems frigid and she has it at 70.
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For programmable thermostats check out Hunter or Honeywell...
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I've used that shrink wrap stuff on windows in previous houses that were drafty, and it did help. So do those simple draft stoppers laid in front of your doors. Electrical outlets are another draft source, so check those and see if they need some coverage.
Originally Posted by RedCatWaves
Do you cover your windows with that or do you put it around your window frames?

I have blinds in two of my windows plus thermal drapes and thermal drapes for all the rest of my windows. I keep them shut all winter long (the drapes).

My mom believes in keeping drapes wide open all winter long because she says the sunlight brings in heat. I can't believe that is right especially when it's overcast most of the time. How would keeping windows bare during cold overcast conditions bring in anything but cold drafts? She calls my apartment a cave because of how i keep everything closed up, but I keep my thermostat at 65 and always feel warm versus in her house it always seems frigid and she has it at 70.
Originally Posted by TSpangla
Well, sunlight does bring in heat, but not on cloudy days, and it's important to close the drapes at night.

The shrink wrap goes over the panes. It's also good to caulk around the outside of the window frames if they are drafty, and weatherstrip the doors.
I do the shrinkwrap every winter. In addition, I keep all of the doors closed upstairs. I find that it keeps the heat in better everywhere. I HATE being cold!!!!

(Doesn't hurt that my computer stays on and adds to the heat in my bedroom!)
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Originally Posted by OBB
This is my preferred method, but you know (actually, you do) how it goes with long distance. Arms don't stretch that far!

I'm a renter, so no major home mods for me. I do keep the heat at around 55-65, but it always feels much warmer in the living room and much colder in the bedroom (hoping the plastic helps with that). The programmable thermostat will make things more accurate and help me regulate the temperature a lot better. I'm headed to Home Depot today, so I'll start looking at those. Thanks for the brand recs, WileE!

Oh, and turns out the dehumidifier the landlord just left me with creates a LOT of heat. That could be a fantastic benefit.
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For programmable thermostats check out Hunter or Honeywell...
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you can also add weather-proof strips to your doors. I didn't do this (or the plastic) last year and I came home to find snow in my house
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you can also add weather-proof strips to your doors. I didn't do this (or the plastic) last year and I came home to find snow in my house
Originally Posted by scrills
Ha -- reminds me, my sister lives in a very cold,windy area with a lot of snow. Her house is old and has the original front door, which has some cracks in the woodwork. When it gets really windy, snow blows in through the cracks. Last winter she sent her son outside to put duct tape over the cracks. He said he felt like he was on the Red Green Show.
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Originally Posted by OBB
This is my preferred method, but you know (actually, you do) how it goes with long distance. Arms don't stretch that far!
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
hehe...frustrating isnt it?
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Originally Posted by OBB
This is my preferred method, but you know (actually, you do) how it goes with long distance. Arms don't stretch that far!
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
hehe...frustrating isnt it?
Originally Posted by OBB
You ain't lyin'!

Nappy_curly_crown, thanks for the tip. Spaz that I am forgot to check when I ran in yesterday. Was it easy to install? I'll probably get two -- one for the bedroom, one for the living room. I never use the thermostat in the bathroom anyway.
Under construction.
b/4 you buy ill ask my BIL what he uses for the best result. hes in construction and home improvement specialist.
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This is my preferred method, but you know (actually, you do) how it goes with long distance. Arms don't stretch that far!
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
hehe...frustrating isnt it?
Originally Posted by OBB
You ain't lyin'!

Nappy_curly_crown, thanks for the tip. Spaz that I am forgot to check when I ran in yesterday. Was it easy to install? I'll probably get two -- one for the bedroom, one for the living room. I never use the thermostat in the bathroom anyway.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled

You have several thermostats in your house? Do you have zoned heating or something? (Most places only have one thermostat.)

Oh, Duh, you said your heat's electric. That makes sense.

Last edited by SuZenGuide; 10-15-2009 at 12:55 PM. Reason: Duh.
Thanks, OBB.

SuZen, I do. There are three thermostats: bedroom, living room and bathroom. But they're just dials. There's no thermometer or anything else on them. (Ah, just saw your edit.)
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