31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

You may sense a theme here, yesterday I talked about weatherstripping the garage. But, as the temps are dropping, it’s important to take some time to seal your home and eliminate drafts wherever they are lurking. One of the biggest offenders in our home was the fireplace. On cold nights, it is cozy to light a fire. But, on the evenings we didn’t light the fire, I had to bundle up in a blanket to combat the drafty fireplace. Even with the flue closed, it just isn’t weather tight.

full_fireplace_mantle

The solution can be as simple as cutting a piece of rigid foam insulation to fit into the opening of your fireplace. If you want some more attractive ideas, you could wrap the insulation with fabric. Or use construction adhesive to attach thin plywood and wood slices to the fireplace insert like Pepper Design Blog did:

Another option would be to cover the insulation with black craft paper and draw a chalkboard scene on it:

Chalkboard fireplaceInspiration from Sophia’s Decor

Finally, if you want an attractive reclaimed wood fireplace draft stopper, you can build your own following my tutorial here.

fireplace-insert-beauty-shot

At the very least you can cut a piece of rigid foam insulation to fit under the flue. Just remember to remove it before you light a fire.

Stay cozy and warm this winter.

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wooden fireplace cover to prevent drafts

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Do you have a garage? Are your garage doors insulated or weather stripped? Or do you have big gaps in the sides like this:

gap_in_garage_door

If you don’t have weather stripping on your garage doors, you could be throwing away money on heating spaces above and/or next to your garage. Not to mention, making it uncomfortably cold for any of us Handy Peeps who work in the garage.

Day 26 – Weatherstrip Your Garage Doors

In an hour you can seal the gaps around your garage door. This could make a huge difference in the temperature of your garage. And you could improve the temperature in adjacent rooms. After installing the weather stripping we noticed a huge difference in the temperature of our bonus room that sits on top of the garage.

Garage Door Side and Top Weather-strip Kit costs less than $20. Be sure to measure the sides and top of your garage doors and order enough to cover.

Use the nails included in the kit to secure the garage door seal against your doors.

For a time saving tip and more detailed directions you can follow my full tutorial for installing garage door weatherstripping.

These were the resulting temperature shifts after I installed the weather stripping on our garage doors:

Before Weather Stripping:

Outside Temperature Inside Garage Temperature Temperature Difference
45˚F 55˚F 10 degrees
30˚F 45˚F 15 degrees

 

After Weather Stripping: 

Outside Temperature Inside Garage Temperature Temperature Difference
45˚F 65˚F 20 degrees
30˚F 58˚F 28 degrees

 

Go ahead and seal those gaps and enjoy a warmer garage and home this winter.

garage_doors

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adding weatherstrips to garage door

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Winter is coming and this year I want to help you protect your home from a burst pipe because it froze. Much like your water pipes (which should have foam insulation sleeves on them,) it’s important to protect your spigot on the outside of your house from freezing.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

Luckily, Frost King makes this handy dandy Insulated Outdoor Faucet Cover.

Day 12: Protecting Spigots from Frozen Burst Pipes

To install the insulated cover, you simply slip the interior cord loop over the spigot handle.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

Cinch the cord lock tight onto the styrofoam cover.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

And your spigot is protected from freezing leading to a costly burst pipe.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

The nice thing about these covers is they can be installed and removed in seconds. If you need to use your spigot, it’s simple to remove and then replace the cover.

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protect frozen pipes from bursting

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Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m a little bit of a fanatic when it comes to drafts. (Remember the time I weather stripped my garage doors?) Over time I’ve addressed most of the pesky cracks and crevices that invite cold air into our home. But, there was one draft that I’ve been meaning to serve an eviction notice to since the first winter we lived in our house.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper

The source of this cold air is our fireplace. Even with the damper closed, there is a draft that escapes into the room. You can’t weatherstrip the damper (that would be a fire hazard), so I decided to build a rustic reclaimed wood fireplace insert to stop the draft.

Want to build your own fireplace insert draft stopper? It’s not hard and you can complete it in an afternoon!

Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper Materials:

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install weather stripping garage door

Last year I froze my handy buns off working in the garage. (This year they returned after eating loads of Christmas cookies! Ugh.) In all seriousness, while searching for bigger and more powerful heaters it occurred to me that I might want to weatherstrip my garage doors first.

seal garage door

When you have garage doors with no weatherstripping, you might have a gap as big as your hand!  Can you imagine? That is 68 linear feet (2 doors) of cold air rushing in. This is the equivalent of all the windows in your house being cracked open an inch. You’d never dream of doing that in the winter, and yet that was the situation in our garage.

Weatherstripping garage doors is a very easy DIY task that shouldn’t take more than an hour. Buy neoprene rubber stripping from your local hardware store or home improvement warehouse. (I purchased the Garage Door Side and Top Weather-strip Kit by Frost King for under $20.)  The rewards of this project are that you can take your garage from an icebox to comfortably cool in less than 60 minutes!

Here are my unscientific results of the temperatures in our garage before and after weatherstripping.

Before Weather Stripping:

Outside Temperature Inside Garage Temperature Temperature Difference
45˚F 55˚F 10 degrees
30˚F 45˚F 15 degrees

 

After Weather Stripping: 

Outside Temperature Inside Garage Temperature Temperature Difference
45˚F 65˚F 20 degrees
30˚F 58˚F 28 degrees

I was so thrilled by the difference it made that I knew I wanted to share the tutorial with y’all. But, sadly I didn’t take any photos. So, I asked my friend, Holly (the one with the adorable house that has loads of character and charm), if I could help her install some on her doors. Luckily I didn’t have to twist her arm too much. Here is how we did it (the super quick way, but not necessarily the “correct” way.)

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

weather stripping seal garage door tools

Open the package of weatherstripping and remove the bag of nails included. Put on your hearing protection and safety glasses.

garage door sealing weather strip

Unroll the weather stripping and pull the end up to the top of the garage door on one side. The short side of the foam strip should be against the frame of the door, and the longer side should be pressed lightly against the garage door.garage door weather proofing

Nail one nail into the frame of the door to hold the stripping in place.

weather stripping garage door

(Here is where we cheated.) Instead of using only nails, use the brad nailer to attach “U” shaped staples into the weather stripping. After every 4th staple, hammer another nail into the frame. By using mostly staples we were able to cut down significantly on the install time. Be sure to start and end with a nail.

applying weather strip to garage door

At the bottom of the door, trim the weatherstripping at an angle as shown. We left a longer tail on the door frame side to close up the gap under the door frame.

garage door weather stripping corners

Continue attaching weather stripping along the top of the door. Alternate between hammering a nail and then four staples.

weather stripping garage door top

When you reach the sides, cut your weather stripping so that it meets the side pieces. Do not let the weatherstripping overlap or it will create a gap.

cut garage weather stripping to exact fit

Repeat for the second garage door (if you have two.)

after garage weather stripping applied

Here are a few other bonus features of the weatherstripping:

  • Quieter. Which means I can get away with using power tools a little later at night.
  • The bonus room above the garage stays warmer. Before it was always chilly up there.
  • Less critters. Since installing the weatherstripping I’ve seen a lot fewer spiders and centipedes.
  • Now when I use the space heater, I can bump up the temperature in the garage by a few degrees per hour. Before the weatherstripping, the space heater really didn’t warm the garage because all the heat was being lost out the sides of the doors.
  • Do I even have to say it? Energy savings! We don’t have to pay as much to heat the bonus room. And I don’t spend hours running the space heater.

I should note that our garage has insulation in the walls. If yours doesn’t, you may not notice as big a difference as I did.

I’d love to hear from you if you tackle this easy project and if you notice a huge change in temperature in your garage too. I can’t tell you how excited I am with the results. I can continue to work in my garage/workshop in comfort through the winter now!garage door weather stripping tutorial