Some surprising tips for your 2018 health resolutions

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to get healthy. And the general game plan to do that usually includes working out more, eating healthier and getting more sleep.

But ...

Tagged: weatherization, saving energy, health

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Some surprising tips for your 2018 health resolutions

Graphic shows how weatherization can improve your health.

According to a Department of Energy poll, residents who received weatherization services reported sleeping better and demonstrated increased levels of energy.

Key Points

  • Weatherizing your home does more than reduce your energy bills.
  • It can also improve your health and safety.
  • 40 million U.S. families may qualify for weatherization assistance. 

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to get healthy. And the general game plan to do that usually includes working out more, eating healthier and getting more sleep.

But you might be surprised to hear that weatherizing your house can help you reach your 2018 health goals.

According to the Department of Energy, weatherizing your home can improve your health and safety. Here’s how:

Weatherization can help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be lethal in certain doses. Weatherization crews test furnaces and stoves for gas leaks and install alarms for smoke and carbon monoxide in the home.

Weatherization reduces stress

Making ends meet is stressful. Lowering your energy bill can help. According to a Department of Energy poll, residents who received weatherization services reported sleeping better and demonstrated increased levels of energy.

Weatherization can help your asthma

Asthma is the leading cause for children to miss school. But weatherization improvements like air sealing, insulation, and improved heating and cooling equipment can reduce asthma triggers in the home.

How to apply for Weatherization Assistance

According to the Department of Energy, more than 40 million U.S. families may be eligible for weatherization services nationwide. Energy services are provided by each states’ local weatherization agencies.

If you receive Supplemental Security Income or help to pay your utility bills from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, you are automatically eligible to receive weatherization services. To learn more about the application process and eligibility in your area, contact your state’s administrator. A full listing of state-by-state contact information is available here.

If you don’t qualify for this service, there are many ways you can weatherize your home on your own. Check out these step by step guides to get the job done.

Hope you have a happy, healthy and safe 2018!


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned a degree in political science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the governor’s office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Farmers’ Almanac is predicting this winter will be _______

Fall is in the air. School is starting, Hobby Lobby is full of Christmas decorations and it’s just a matter of time before pumpkin spice takes over everything including lattes, ...

Tagged: Farmers' Almanac, Energy Efficiency, weatherization, cold

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Farmers’ Almanac is predicting this winter will be _______

Walking in the wintertime

With frigid temperatures on the horizon, weatherizing our homes will be important.

Key Points

  • The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a cold winter.
  • Energy efficiency will be more important than ever.
  • Pass the hot chocolate. 

Fall is in the air. School is starting, Hobby Lobby is full of Christmas decorations and it’s just a matter of time before pumpkin spice takes over everything including lattes, Oreos, M&Ms, pancakes and Pringles (yes, really).

It’s also time to start thinking about winter. And so far, predictions are for a cold one. The Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting an exceptionally cold season for much of the nation. “We’re calling it the return of the old-fashioned winter. The ice-cold winter is back,” said Sandi Duncan, the Almanac’s managing editor.

With frigid temperatures on the horizon, weatherizing our homes will be more important than in recent El Nino-driven warmer winters.

Here are some tips to keep the cold out this winter:

Let the sunshine in – Open your curtains in the day to let the sun naturally add some heat to your home, and then close them at night to help block cold drafts.

Seal your windows – Consider using those plastic sheets available at your local hardware store to cover your windows. Bonus: your kids will think you know magic when your hair dryer shrinks the plastic taut for an unobstructed view. Well, maybe that’s just my kids; they’re easily amused, and one is too young to talk yet, so I just assume she thinks I’m amazing and magical.

Stop the leaksFind out where your house might be letting valuable warm air out and cold air in, and caulk the gaps. Common culprits are around your door, chimney and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and cabinets. There are several different types of caulking (yeah, who knew?), but thankfully, energy.gov offers a nice chart to help you decide which one to buy. Don’t procrastinate on this step. You should caulk before the cold comes (above 45 degrees is best) so the caulk will set and adhere to the surfaces.

Pamper your heater – Replace your filter so it doesn’t have to work so hard to circulate all that warm, comfy air.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Paint for energy-efficient windows

I weatherized my 1-year-old’s windows in the hopes that if she were snuggly warm, she’d sleep longer. Also to save energy. Yes, the energy savings were top priority (cough, cough).

That ...

Tagged: weatherization, Energy Efficiency, magic paint, windows

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Paint for energy-efficient windows

A girl and her dog

A team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Colorado and the California Institute of Technology is working on a magical paint to solve all our problems. It would make windows more efficient with the stroke of a brush.

Key Points

  • Researchers are working on a paint that will make your windows more energy efficient.
  • The paint allows visible light in and reflects infrared light back into the sky.
  • It will reduce need for air conditioning by reducing the amount of heat trapped in buildings.

I weatherized my 1-year-old’s windows in the hopes that if she were snuggly warm, she’d sleep longer. Also to save energy. Yes, the energy savings were top priority (cough, cough).

That totally backfired the other night when it was windy. The wind came in at the perfect angle to make that plastic covering really, really loud. And it scared the bajeebas out of Annie. She did. Not. Sleep. 

Granted, there’s a sliiiiiight chance that user error was involved. If I had secured the plastic to the window a little tighter, maybe it wouldn’t have been so noisy. And overall, it really has helped keep her room warmer.

I must not be the only one with weatherizing woes.

 A team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Colorado and the California Institute of Technology is working on a magical paint to solve all our problems. It would make windows more efficient with the stroke of a brush. Something similar exists for commercial use, but it’s really expensive. This new version would be affordable and available to desperate moms like me.

We usually think of weatherizing our windows in the winter as a way to save on our heating costs. But as we approach spring and summer, this would be a way to save on our cooling costs as well.

Here’s how The Daily Californian describes the new technology:

“The coating uses the unique geometry of bottlebrush polymers to reflect infrared light back into the sky while allowing visible light to pass through painted windows. The process reduces the amount of both heat trapped in buildings and the carbon dioxide emitted through less air conditioning use, allowing buildings in warmer climates to save more energy.”

If successful, the team could make a big impact on energy efficiency. Good window design can reduce energy consumption from 10 to 50 percent.

The team is still in the early stages of development, but they have funds from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to help. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Nailed it: Window weatherization

There’s nothing like “mommy guilt” to motivate me to get something done.

I knew covering our drafty windows would save money ...

Tagged: weatherization, winter, cold, drafty

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Nailed it: Window weatherization

Weatherized windows

I'm sure my perfect Facebook mom friends weatherized their homes between making homemade play dough and taking a family hike

Key Points

  • Window weatherization really works!
  • I tried it and can’t believe the difference.
  • Even if you mess it up a little, it’s still effective.

There’s nothing like “mommy guilt” to motivate me to get something done.

I knew covering our drafty windows would save money and energy. But it wasn’t until last week when I was rocking Annie at 2 a.m. and felt how cold her little hands were that I was spurred to action.

The heater was on, but her little room still felt chilly. I am such a horrible mother for letting my baby sleep in such a cold room! Surely none of my perfect Facebook mom friends would ever, ever do that. They probably weatherized their homes between making homemade PlayDough and taking a family hike where nobody cried and everyone smiled for family selfies.

Well, after that cold night, I headed right to Lowes and bought these window weatherization kits.

I had to get a little creative with where to tape around some of our window hardware, but even so, the difference in temperature is significant.

And you can see here that you hardly even notice under the layers of ruffles that there’s plastic over the windows.

If you decide to cover your windows, make sure to buy the right kit for the size. I can’t math and might have had to MacGyver a couple kits together to get the job done.

And no, I won’t be including that it my Facebook post. As far as Facebook knows, I nailed it. 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: weatherization, winter, cold, drafty

Energy Department takes creepy trip to Grandma’s house

This somewhat disturbing video does a good job of showing how weatherization efforts need to work together as a system. In it, “big Mike” visits your fictional grandma because ...

Tagged: weatherization, Energy, winter

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Energy Department takes creepy trip to Grandma’s house

Grandma

Watch this humorous, but real, video and learn how to do a better job with your fall weatherization efforts.

Key Points

  • Someone named “big Mike” is messing up your grandma’s weatherization projects.
  • Learn how weatherization efforts need to work together as a system.
  • Never, ever trust someone named “big Mike” with your grandma.

This somewhat disturbing video does a good job of showing how weatherization efforts need to work together as a system. In it, “big Mike” visits your fictional grandma because “he knows exactly what to do to make her happy.” Only he messes everything up. Insulating and air sealing her house causes condensation and mold. Poor grandma saves energy but keeps calling “big Mike” back to make her happy again.

Yes. This is a real video. Watch it and learn how to do a better job with your fall weatherization efforts. Just don’t tell anyone named “big Mike” where your real grandma lives.

 


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A.in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: weatherization, Energy, winter

How can I get my home ready for winter?

Before I started to speak utility jargon, I thought weatherizing meant getting your favorite scarves and boots out of storage while sipping a pumpkin spice latte. Not so.

It ...

Tagged: weatherization

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How can I get my home ready for winter?

Key Points

  • Weatherize your home to save some money.
  • Caulk, seal and weatherstrip to keep the cold out.
  • Reward yourself with pumpkin treats

Before I started to speak utility jargon, I thought weatherizing meant getting your favorite scarves and boots out of storage while sipping a pumpkin spice latte. Not so.

It means caulking around your windows and making sure the weatherstripping on your doors and windows is tight. Energy.gov offers a handy guide to help you identify where your home might be wasting the most energy.

Here are some more tips to keep the cold out this winter:

Let the sunshine in — Open your curtains during the day to let the sun naturally add some heat to your home and then close them at night to keep out cold drafts.

Seal your windows — Consider using those plastic sheets available at your local hardware store to cover your windows. Bonus: your kids will think you know magic when your hair dryer seals the plastic to the window. Or maybe that’s just my kids. They’re easily amused. And one is too little to talk yet, so I just assume that she thinks I’m amazing and magical.

Stop the leaksFind out where your house might be letting valuable warm are out and cold air in, and caulk it up. Common culprits are around your door, chimney, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and cabinets. There are several different types of caulk (yeah, who knew?), but thankfully energy.gov offers a nice chart to help you decide which one to buy. Don’t procrastinate on this step. Its best to caulk before the cold comes (above 45 degrees is best) so the caulk will set and adhere to the surfaces.

Pamper your heater — Replace your filter so your furnace doesn’t have to work so hard to circulate all that hot air.

And when you’ve finished that, treat yourself to a pumpkin spice latte, some pumpkin Oreos, pumpkin M&M, pumpkin spice whey protein (no really, it’s a thing) or any other pumpkin treat that is taking over the world. 

Did you like this article? Here are some other articles that include: weatherization