Tag Archives: Winter

Homemade Weather Sealing – from cereal boxes!

Ok, I have no idea if this has been thought of before but I promise, I thought of this today ;).

The Problem:

PICT0064We are currently in an older home that we can’t do much to ourselves (renting) and we have some big old doors going out to a sun porch that we won’t be heating for the winter. The house is quite bent out of shape and therefore all the gaps in the door are uneven (see image), and in spots are quite wide and other places very tight.

Commercial solutions that I’ve seen won’t work. I do have some foam backing road inserted in places but you need to purchase multiple sizes to deal with all the different size gaps πŸ™ I don’t want to spend that much, plus the foam stuff is hard to squeeze it, and its really meant for more permanent solutions. Most other commercial stuff has a sticky size or double sided tap which we don’t want to use since its only seasonal, it has to come off in the summer without leaving any marks.

So, the solution is simple and free. We constantly throw out cereal boxes, and the cardboard in them is nice and thin and easy to work with. So, here are the steps below for creating your own seasonal weather stripping for rarely used doors (and some options further below for doors you do intend to use occasionally)

1) Find some old cereal or cracker boxes

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2) Cut it length-wise into 1.5 to 2 inch strips (Bigger gap? Cut wider strips, 3 or 4 inches as needed, and they will flex to fill the gaps)

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3) Fold in half length-wise with a ruler or table edge

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4) Insert into any gap that you have. As you can see below, the first image shows the form road I had in the bottom section of the door, and the second shows the cardboard squeezed in. It will fill any size game there assuming you’ve cut it wide enough, and friction will hold it in place!

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5) Keep stacking them one on top of the other all the way around the door – remember to hold your hand over the joints and sections to find any drafts and adjust as necessary!

Some improvements on this idea are:

  • Want to create long strips and be sure there are no gaps between sections? use masking tape to join all the sections you created to make a big long strip.
  • Use double sided tape on one side (the long side if you have a long side) and stick it to either the door or the door way, this allows you to open and close the door without the cardboard falling out and since the board is springy, it will always fill the gap.

Some cons here:

  • If you’re using this on a door you use often, it may fall out (without double sided tape) or wear out (its just cardboard that you were going to recycle anyways πŸ˜‰ )
  • May not look as nice – Β but hey, its free
  • If drafts are strong or there is moisture prevalent, you may want to think about a commercial product. I suppose you could do a similar thing with an old ‘crazy carpet’. It would be wanter resistant and provide nice long strips though it might not fit into small spaces as well, oh and its usually a ‘crazy’ colour.. but again, its free πŸ™‚

Update: Growing Oaks

Just an update, we still have 2 Oak trees squished together in a pot that we brought from Georgetown, my parents have another one, and.. .not sure where the others are, I forget now. Anyways, ours is plugging away. They are VERY slow to grow, all the leaves fell off a month ago and its sprouted new ones. Not sure if its confused whether winter is coming or not or what… We’re hoping this one can get past the ‘half a foot tall’ stage its at now and start to take off… Maybe this can be Β great tree that we plant wherever we settle in memory of our family, and hopefully it will always be there even if we move or whatever. Where we can always go back and look at it and say that we planted it. πŸ™‚

Power Consumption – A review of our usage.

I was crunching numbers on our house, trying to figure out where all our money was going. Granted our electricity isn’t TOO bad per month, average bill $70. However, we’re pondering whether to go with geothermal for heating / hot water. With Geothermal is the fact that electricity will double basically as the heat pump runs off electricity, and usually you need to supplement your hot water with an electric hot water tank.

Below is our current consumption in a 4 bedroom house (must be around 1700 sq ft)

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As you can see, many things like the dishwasher don’t seem like much (its run every day basically), but things like the lights in the house do start adding significantly to the overall usage. The furnace is huge too, at 15 bucks, considering that you ALSO have to pay 2500 – 3000 a year for heating oil πŸ™ (This amount is ZERO with geothermal).

Another cool thing is that if you have running water (in the form of a stream or river) you can VERY easily create a hydro electric turbine quite easily from an old car alternator and a pelton wheel and some piping. They will not break a sweat producing 600 watts all day long, 24 hours a day. This adds up to 14.4 kWh. The chart above shows that we’re using 12.16 kWh a day so one hydro turbine would power our entire house, electric range and all. Add to that some solar PC, hot water, and wind generation and you are good to go. In fact, if you do have a good water source like that, you probably don’t even need the extra sources as water turbines are the most efficient all year around assuming it doesn’t freeze over in the winter.

So some thoughts on energy in and around our home. As suggested on an earlier post by Matt, the best way to do all this is to conserve as much energy as possible. Seal cracks, prevent drafts, keep lights turned off if at all possible, dial down your thermostat at night (which I would do if our landlord would let us put programmable thermostats in πŸ™ ).