Easy Ways to Button Up Your House and Save Energy

Yes, nip and tuck applies to your house, too. I think it’s the perfect way to describe tightening up the openings around doors and windows so you don’t waste money heating the outside. By decreasing the amount of drafts that let cold air infiltrate inside you’ll lower the amount of heat your house needs to maintain a comfortable condition.

I say doors and windows because they’re the largest openings in a house so buttoning them up will provide a nice tight seal around them. The cost of adding weatherstripping around door frames and using a silicone caulk to seal the outside of windows is a minor expense when you compare it with what you save in the long run. To add bronze weatherstripping around a door will cost $65 and to caulk six double hung windows will cost you $50, both estimates are for the material assuming you’ll do it yourself. A contractor will charge $95 for the door and $144 for the windows so there’s a substantial saving by doing it yourself. Both are easy jobs.

For a quick fix you can install a window insulation kit – plastic sheeting with double-faced tape – that will cost only $25 for four windows. You put the sheeting on the window with the tape and seal it with a hair dryer on the inside of the window. For a handyman to do the job will cost you $84.

However you decide to button up the gaps around doors and windows, now’s the time to do it.

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Gene and Katie Hamilton are authors of 20 home improvement books and creators of, a website that compares the DIY and contractor costs of hundreds of repair, decorating and remodeling projects. Their weekly column Do It Yourself or Not is syndicated by Tribune Content Agency.

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