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Waste Not, Want Not

By Judy Wolfram

     

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It’s October and winter will be upon us soon. I know you think winter is still a long way off--but trust me, it’s not. Let’s talk about some things that you can do to help winterize your home.

When we bought our house in the spring of ’93, my husband asked the previous owners if the house was insulated. Of course, they said it was. Mmm. Hmmmm. Sure it was. As I was standing at my kitchen sink, which is on an outside west wall, doing dishes during the storm of ’93, my hair was blowing straight back.

I said to myself, “Self, this can’t be good.”

I started to track the culprit down. I have a double outlet on each side of my sink. The wind was whistling through each of the empty outlets. What to do? Put something in the outlets! I bought two packages of plastic baby-proofing plugs at RiteAid. I put one of those in each empty outlet on outside facing walls. The outlets on the walls between rooms were okay.

We have storm windows too, but when the weather comes from the west and is windy, the cold still comes in around them. I bought some pretty towels at yard sales, and I roll them up and put them on my window sills. It helps a lot. If you don’t have storm windows, Kelly at Kelly’s Home Source assures me that she has all you need to winterize your windows. I would assume that Hardman’s also carries weatherizing products.

To keep the cold from creeping in under your doors, roll up some old throw rugs and sew them up tight. Tie pretty ribbons or yarn on either end and you have a draft blocker. Also, you can sew up material like a hollow snake and fill it with clean kitty litter.

If you are on a really tight budget, a certain reporter told me that clear shower curtains, bought at one of the dollar stores, can be measured, cut, and thumbtacked on the inside of your windows. If you can not afford to do all of your windows, just do the ones on the storm side of your home. If you can’t afford a storm door, but have a screen door, you can always thumbtack plastic on the inside of the door.

Every little thing you do to keep your home warm works. Heavy drapes or curtains on the windows also helps keep the cold out and the heat in.

There’s another little thing I do in the winter to add a little more heat in the house. I use my oven a lot--summer and winter. In the summer, I shut the door immediately after removing whatever was cooked in there. In the winter, it’s an entirely different story. I leave the door open and all the heat that is left in the oven after I have removed the food and turned it off comes into the kitchen. You would be surprised at how much heat there really is in there.

A special tip: If you have a kitchen or bathroom sink, or a utility sink against an outside facing wall and they are cabinet sinks, make sure you leave the doors open on cold nights. It just might help to keep your pipes from freezing.

Well, there you are. I hope I have helped you with a few inexpensive ways to keep warm this winter. By the way, heavy socks, fuzzy slippers, sweaters and throw rugs work wonders too.

 (Judy Wolfram is chairperson of Calhoun County Solid Waste Authority, which oversees Cabot Recycling. Cabot is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for recycling drop-offs. Those who would like to be paid for non-ferrous metals and aluminum cans need to visit Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.)

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