March 6, 2017

Improving Energy Efficiency With Door and Window Coverings

This unicorn is guarding our front door... from drafts and cold.

The home Linda and I live in is only 4 years old. Even so, it is not without room for improvement when it comes to energy conservation.

The average home loses up to 25% of its heat through windows and doors, so there is room for improvement there. While one can buy insulated window coverings and door curtains, I like to try to do as much as I can with things I already own rather than buy new stuff.

I have fashioned a door curtain for our front door, from an old blanket (yes, the same blanket I used in our DIY thermal cooker), and curtain pins. It works so well that on cold nights with the right wind, condensation on the door will freeze.

My simple bedroom window covering provides insulation in winter, shade in summer.

My window coverings are pieces of cloth, that we already had, attached to the inside window screens. I add clear garbage bags in winter to eliminate condensation and drafts (yes, brand new windows can have drafts, I am discovering). They are easy to put up and take down, and make our home feel more comfortable.

There is always something that can be done to make our homes more energy efficient. Even new ones. And it is surprising how much can be done while not buying anything.


  1. Over the years I have spent my home improvement dollars to make my home more energy efficient. This year I had the fireplace cleaned and repaired so it would quit losing so much heat. Last year I was using the blanket method. I don't know if I make the money back in reduced costs over time, but I think it does address environmental costs that we are often willing to put on a tab, a debt to be paid later.

    1. Annie,

      I think those are dollars well spent. The environment thanks you.

  2. We have a split level house, with the upper level open to the front entry and door and stairs leading to lower level. The temperature difference is amazing between upper and lower levels. In winter we put up blankets so to cover the opening from the upper level to the entry, and put many blankets or even sheets across doors to regulate the heat. We use small space heaters in bedroom and computer room, and with the door mainly shut (have to keep it slightly open so the cats can go in/out) and a sheet over the door, the room retains heat pretty well with the heater on low. In summer, we open up everything and let the cooler lower level air seep upstairs. Once all the blankets, etc are up, it is easy to maintain. Then in late spring they come down, get laundered, and put away for next year. The blinds on our windows do a good job of keeping out the cold/heat. Most winters we notice the difference in costs because of this arrangement. This year was extra cold in Oregon, and although this helped, our heating bills were still higher than usual. -- Mary

    1. Mary,

      Wow - that is like my blanket system on steroids. We have been watching west coast weather from the east coast, and it sounds like it was snowier and colder than usual. Having said that, we have a snow storm on its way out here right now. Can't put the blankets away just yet.

  3. I've read that bubble wrap attached to windows can have the same effect as double glazing - and is a whole lot cheaper, especially if you've already got some. My favourite way to keep warm when the fire isn't going is just a hot water bottle on my knee with a blanket over the top. Cuddling the cat is almost as good!


    1. Madeleine,

      I have heard that about bubble wrap, too. Just wet the window, then smooth the bubble wrap on to it. I would have tried it on our front door window, but we don't have any bubble wrap, and it costs a bit of cash to purchase.

      I love your ways of keeping warm, especially the cat.


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