Claim Check

Draft Dodgers

By Sarah Parsons

Keeping warm air inside and chilly winter winds outside can be tricky, especially in older homes. Improper insulation can also rack up the bills—the US Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that poorly insulated windows account for 10 to 25 percent of your heating bill. To keep warmth in and costs down, many people weatherize windows by sealing them with plastic sheets. We checked with the experts to determine efficient ways to keep your home warm and toasty.—Sarah Parsons The Claim: Putting plastic on windows is the best way to keep heat from escaping during winter.

The Facts: Covering drafty windows with plastic can help keep hot air inside. It can also help you use less energy. But, warns Ed Pollock from the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, you have to make sure you cover windows correctly. Gluing plastic directly onto the glass won’t work. Pollock recommends taping plastic onto the window frame instead. If plastics don’t provide the look you desire, Pollock suggests buying shades or thick drapes, which work almost as well.

The Conclusion: Though plastic can help keep windows airtight when cold winds howl, heavy drapes and other methods can be as effective. Open shades on south-facing windows during the day to let sunlight in. At night, draw drapes to trap heat and keep cold air from sneaking in. Other energy-saving tips include checking your furnace filter each month to make sure it’s clean, caulking air leaks, installing storm windows, and hiring a technician to seal heating and cooling ducts.

Issue 25

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