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As we enter the winter months, cold air begins to creep into our living spaces. Curbing home energy usage becomes a priority, as the weather becomes cooler and heating costs begin to rise. With fuel prices on the rise again, drafty windows and doors can empty your pocketbook just as much as an extended summer road trip. Fall is the time to plug your home’s energy drains and create a cozier, more holiday-friendly home environment. A Simple Method for Finding Energy Leaks Cooler weather brings blustery days. A stiff breeze may be a wake-up call to fix your drafty access points, but it is also the type of weather you need to determine where winter chills are entering your home. You can use incense, a candle, or any smoke-emitting device to trace around door and window seams to determine if drafts are making their way into your home. Once you know where the draft is coming from, there are a multitude of easy and inexpensive ways to keep your hard-earned dollars from flying out through your leaky windows and doors. Inexpensive Ways to Fix Drafty Doors and Windows Inspect your doors and windows, both inside and out for energy leakage. Leaks that are visible from the outside can be filled with weather-resistant foam, caulk, masonry sealer or any other material that will withstand the rigors of extreme weather. You may be able to remove interior or exterior window trim to fill gaps with expanding foam. Use weather stripping to insulate around operable window and door openings. Installing sweeps on your doors takes a little effort, but can lead to less draftiness along the floor, where a little comfort can make a lot of difference. Alternatively, you can use cloth "draft snakes," to create an easily removable draft blocker. Draft snakes are commercially available or can easily be made by stuffing a tube of fabric with foam, Styrofoam beads or other fillers. Gaskets can be installed around electrical outlets to diminish interior breezes. You can purchase an inexpensive, easy-to-install insulator kit for windows of any size. Your local hardware outlet will have these kits which are composed of transparent plastic sheets that can be taped around your interior windows, and then shrunk tight to size with a blow dryer. Window insulation kits are a temporary fix, but they are cost effective and much more efficient than you might think. Better Energy Saving Alternatives: Higher Cost but Worth the Price The methods described above for fixing drafty openings require little cost or effort. However, if you have the resources to take on more permanent home improvement, the time and effort is well worth the cost. Storm windows are ideal for single pane or older windows. A storm door can be installed on most conventional types of doors. If storm windows are not an option, you may need to update your windows to keep out the winter chill. Of course, replacing doors and windows is initially expensive, but can add value and style to your home – and do wonders for its resale value. If you are unable to replace them all at one time, you may be able to make improvements a little at a time. Making Use of Home Decor to Minimize Draftiness Many simple steps can be taken to alleviate home draftiness. Closing window coverings in cold weather, and opening them to let the sun warm your home, or installing thermal draperies will also help increase your energy savings. Contact us today to learn how we can save you money by making your home more energy-efficient!