When Lisa Leinberger started looking for her first house she carefully made a budget. Mortgage pre-approval in hand she very quickly found a beautifully updated 1910 craftsman near Gonzaga Prep.
“I just fell in love. I love this house. I love everything about it,” Leinberger said. She later did some research and discovered the home was built by a woman. “It is very feminine. I love all the light from the big windows.”
She signed the mortgage papers in January of 2019 - one of the warmest Januaries on record - and moved in right before a toe-numbing cold spell hit in February.
“I was a little surprised by what it took to warm up the place,” Leinberger said. This didn’t sway her love for the house, but she knew this old beauty had some undesirable features that could make a difference in how much energy she used. She turned down the electrical baseboard heaters in rooms she didn’t use and went to an Energy Fair hosted by Avista to learn more about how to cheaply weatherize her first home.
She learned a few things like how much single pane windows can let in the cold. It’s estimated that 10 times as much energy dissipates through a single pane window as compared to a wall. Covering single pane windows with crimping plastic may cut energy consumption in half.
The plastic works like an extra pane, and kits with everything needed for installation can be picked up cheaply at most hardware stores.
Leinberger quickly got the hang of covering windows, and she immediately noticed the difference: the cold draft was gone.
Rope caulk is also a cheap and effective filler for gaps in vintage guillotine window frames, and other cracks.
Leinberger placed blankets along the bottom of the two exterior doors - a good quick fix when it comes to keeping cold air out, but she soon realized it created a tripping hazard.
Installing a low-cost doors weep or draft stopper - a piece of plastic or rubber that’s easily mounted along the bottom of the door - is a much safer way to weatherize an old door.
Fireplace chimneys can suck warm air out of a home very quickly and it’s best to close them up for winter. Using inch-thick foam board cut to size is a simple fix that can be easily removed if the fireplace is needed for heating.
Being a first time homeowner can feel overwhelming but Leinberger said these energy preserving measures are simple, affordable and are bound to make a big difference.
“Did I mention I love my house? With these quick, easy fixes I love it even more!"