The Old Man and the Street

2005-2-1

Flying High with Seal 'N' Peel

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you that the Old Man has old windows. The old windows have old storm windows on them, and, even with the old storms in, some of the old windows let way too much of the good old outdoors in.

While our furnace and radiators are more than capable of keeping the house warm, after getting our first "wintertime" gas bill, I decided that it's time to deal with some of our energy efficiency issues.

The sun room on the front of the house seems to be the worst culprit, with 7 huge windows, one of which might as well be wide open for all the air it leaks into the house. The sun room was originally an external porch and closed in at a later date, so the windows aren't original to the house, and I figured that this was a safe enough place to begin weatherproofing.

I did a little research on various ways of temporarily sealing air leaks and found that there are basically two solutions available. First, you can cover your window with a plastic film (either inside or out) taped to the frame and shrunk to fit with a hair dryer. Second, you can apply some sort of temporary caulk where the window meets the frame (and anywhere else that air is coming in or out). One type of caulk comes in premade strips and is pressed into place, and the second kind comes in a standard caulk tube and is designed to be removable.

Since I've now got mad caulking skillz,I decided to try using DAP Seal 'N' Peel. I cleaned the window frames in the sun room and started caulking the worst of the windows, figuring that I'd just keep caulking until I emptied the tube. I managed to finish 5 windows and I can already feel the difference in heat loss.

But there's one small problem: The warning label on the caulk said that it contains "Lactol Spirits, Mineral Oil, and Toluene" and that I should make sure that I'm working in a well-ventilated environment.

Well, that's all well and good except for the fact that 1. I JUST CAULKED MY WINDOWS SHUT, and 2. it's 30 DEGREES OUTSIDE. The house currently reeks to high heaven, and my only recourse is pretty much to put on a coat and leave the front door open for a while. So the downside is that my brain is probably being eaten away by this stuff, but hey, at least I'm high as a kite!

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